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Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University 
of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28 



F.R.S., ScD. (Cambridge), Hon. D.Sc. (Manchester), 

Hon. LL.D. (St. Andrews), Hon. D.Sc. (Wisconsin), 

Hon. Sc.D. (Harvard and Yale) 


Edited By 





A Division of Macmillan Publishing Co,, Inc. 

New York 

Copyright © 1978 by The Free Press 

A Division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 
Copyright, 1929, by Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 
Copyright renewed 1957 by Evelyn Whitehead. 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced 
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or 
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any 
information storage and retrieval system, without permission 
in writing from the Publisher. 

The Free Press 

**A Division of Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 
866 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022 

Collier Macmillan Canada, Ltd. 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 77-90011 

Printed in the United States of America 

printing number 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Whitehead, Alfred North, IB6I-I9V7. 
Process and reality. 

(Gifford lectures ; 1927-28) 

Includes index. 

1. Cosmology— Addresses, essays, lectures. 

2. Science— .Philosophy— Addresses, essays, lectures. 

3. Organism (Philosophy)— Addresses, essays, lectures. 
I. Griffin, David II. Sherburne, Donald W. 
III. Title. IV. Series. 

BD5H.W5 1978 113 77-90011 

ISBN 0-02-93ll580-4 ^ 


Process and Reality, Whitehead's magnum opus, is one of the major 
philosophical works of the modern world, and an extensive body of sec- 
ondary literature has developed around it. Yet surely no significant philo- 
sophical book has appeared in the last two centuries in nearly so deplorable 
a condition as has this one, with its many hundreds of errors and with 
over three hundred discrepancies between the American (Macmillan) and 
the English (Cambridge) editions, which appeared in different formats 
with divergent paginations. The work itself is highly technical and far from 
easy to understand, and in many passages the errors in those editions were 
such as to compound the difficulties. The need for a corrected edition has 
been keenly felt for many decades. 

The principles to be used in deciding what sorts of corrections ought to 
be introduced into a new edition of Process and Reality are not, however, 
immediately obvious. Settling upon these principles requires that one take 
into account the attitude toward book production exhibited by White- 
head, the probable history of the production of this volume, and the two 
original editions of the text as they compare with each other and with 
other books by Whitehead. We will discuss these various factors to provide 
background in terms of which the reader can understand the rationale for 
the editorial decisions we have made. 

Whitehead did not spend much of his own time on the routine tasks 
associated with book production. Professor Raphael Demos was a young 
colleague of Whitehead on the Harvard faculty at the time, 1925, of the 
publication of Science and the Modern World. Demos worked over the 
manuscript editorially, read the proofs, and did the Index for that volume. 
The final sentence of Whitehead's Preface reads: "My most grateful 
thanks are due to my colleague Mr. Raphael Demos for reading the proofs 
and for the suggestion of many improvements in expression." After re- 
tiring from Harvard in the early 1960's, Demos became for four years a 
colleague at Vanderbilt University of Professor Sherburne and shared with 
him his personal observations concerning Whitehead's indifference to the 
production process. 

Bertrand Russell x provides further evidence of Whitehead's sense of 
priorities when he reports that Whitehead, in response to Russell's com- 

1 Portraits from Memory (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956), p. 104. 

vi Editors' Preface 

plaint that he had not answered a letter, "justified himself by saying that 
if he answered letters, he would have no time for original work/' Russell 
found this justification "complete and unanswerable/' 

In 1929, when Process and Reality was in production, the same sense of 
priorities was operative. Whitehead was sixty-eight years old, and he still 
had major projects maturing in his mind: Adventures of Ideas, Modes of 
Thought, and numerous articles and lectures were still to come. "Original 
work," fortunately, continued to take precedence in his life over humdrum 
details and trivia. Unfortunately, however, 1929 found Demos in England 
(working with Russell). As best we can determine at this time, no one 
with both a familiarity with Whitehead's thought and an eye for detail 
undertook to shepherd Process and Reality through the production process 
—Demos, in particular, was never aware that anyone else from the philo- 
sophical community had worked on the manuscript or proofs. Whitehead's 
only personal acknowledgment in the Preface is to "the constant encourage- 
ment and counsel which I owe to my wife." 

An examination of the available evidence, including the discrepancies 
between the two original editions and the types of errors they contained, 
has led us to the following reconstruction of the production process and of 
the origin of some of the types of errors. 

First, to some extent in conjunction with the preparation of his Gifford 
Lectures and to some extent as an expansion and revision of them, 2 White- 
head prepared a hand-written manuscript. Many of the errors in the final 
product, such as incorrect references, misquoted poetry, other faulty quo- 
tations, faulty and inconsistent punctuation, and some of the wrong and 
missing words, surely originated at this stage and were due to Whitehead's 
lack of attention to details. In addition, the inconsistencies in formal mat- 
ters were undoubtedly due in part to the fact that the manuscript was 
quite lengthy and was written over a period of at least a year and a half. 

Second, a typist (possibly at Macmillan) prepared a typed copy for the 
printer. The errors that crept into the manuscript at this stage seem to in- 
clude, besides the usual sorts of typographical errors, misreadings of White- 
head's somewhat difficult hand. 3 For example, the flourish initiating 
Whitehead's capital "H" was sometimes transcribed as a "T," so that 
"His" came out "This," and "Here" came out "There." Also, not only the 
regular mistranscription of "Monadology" as "MonodoZogy," but also 
other mistranscriptions, such as "transmuted" for "transmitted" and 
"goal" for "goad," probably occurred at this stage. (Professor Victor Lowe 

2 See Victor Lowe, "Whitehead's Gifford Lectures/' The Southern journal of 
Philosophy, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Winter, 1969-70), 329-38. 

3 For samples of his handwriting, see the letters published in Alfred North 
Whitehead: Essays on His Philosophy, ed. George L. Kline (New York: Pren- 
tice-Hall, 1963), p. 197; and The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, ed. 
Paul Arthur Schilpp, 2nd ed. (New York: Tudor Publishing, 1951), pp. 664- 

Editors' Preface vii 

has reported an incident which, whether or not it involved a misreading of 
Whitehead's handwriting, provided— as Lowe says— a bad omen for what 
would happen to the book: "On April 11, 1928, Kemp Smith received this 
cable from Whitehead: title gifford lectures is process and reality 


Third, it appears that Macmillan set type first and that Cambridge set 
its edition a bit later, using either a copy of the typed manuscript or, more 
likely, a copy of Macmillan's proof sheets. There are a large number of 
errors which the two editions had in common, a large number in the Mac- 
millan edition which were not in the Cambridge edition, and some few in 
the latter which were not in the former. Their distribution and their char- 
acter suggest the following observations : Macmillan provided poor proof- 
reading; the Cambridge editor did a much more rigorous job of catching 
typographical errors; the Cambridge editor also initiated certain sorts of 
editorial changes, which primarily involved punctuation, though these were 
not consistently applied throughout the entire text; finally, the types of 
errors unique to the Cambridge edition seem not to be due to carelessness, 
but to deliberate attempts to make the text more intelligible— attempts 
which fell short of their goal because the Cambridge editor did not under- 
stand Whitehead's technical concepts. 

There is independent evidence that Whitehead himself saw proofs. 
Lowe has published a letter from Whitehead to his son, dated August 12, 
1929, which reads in part: "At last I have got through with my Gifford 
Lectures — final proofs corrected, Index Printed, and the last corrections 
put in/' 5 The deplorable state of the text, plus Whitehead's lack of 
enthusiasm for this sort of work, make it virtually certain that he did not 
do much careful proofreading, Lowe reports 6 that Whitehead, after dis- 
cussions with C. I. Lewis, decided to change the adjectival form of "cate- 
gory" from "categorical" to "categoreal" and made this change throughout 
the galleys. We strongly suspect that Whitehead's work on the proofs was 
limited for the most part to very particular, specific corrections of this sort. 

It would have been useful in the preparation of this corrected edition to 
have had Whitehead's manuscript and/or typescript. Unfortunately, all 
efforts to locate them have been unsuccessful— both are probably no longer 
extant. We do have some corrections, additions, and marginalia which 
Whitehead himself added to his Cambridge and Macmillan copies. In 
addition there is a one-page list entitled "Misprints" (evidently given to 
Whitehead by someone else) with an endorsement in Whitehead's hand- 
writing: "Corrections all inserted." This data was given to us by Lowe, 
who is writing the authorized biography of Whitehead and has been given 
access to family materials, and to whom we express our deep appreciation. 

4 Lowe, op. cii. y 334, fn. 14. 

*Ibid., 338. 

Q Ibid., fn. 19; as Lowe reports, he received this information from H. N. Lee. 

viii Editors' Preface 

Finally, in 1966 Lowe was allowed by Mrs. Henry Copley Greene to see a 
typescript of Part V, which was inscribed: "Rosalind Greene with his love 
From Alfred Whitehead Oct. 12, 1928." This typescript had some correc- 
tions in Whitehead's hand on it; Lowe reports that, with one exception, 
the published texts contained these corrections (e.g., the capitalization of 
'Creature' and 'Itself' in the last paragraph). 

It was on the basis of the above evidence and interpretations that we 
arrived at the principles that guided our editorial work in regard to both 
the more trivial and the more significant issues. 

The most difficult and debatable editorial decisions had to be made, 
ironically, concerning relatively trivial matters, especially those involving 
punctuation. We tried to steer a middle course between two unacceptable 

On the one hand, the editors of a "corrected edition" might have intro- 
duced into the text all the changes which they would have suggested to a 
still-living author. The obvious problem with this alternative is that, since 
the author is no longer living, he would have no chance to veto these "im- 
provements" as being inconsistent with his own meaning or stylistic prefer- 

On the other hand, to avoid this problem the editors might have decided 
to remove only the most obvious and egregious errors, otherwise leaving 
the text as it was. One problem with this alternative is that this important 
work would again be published without benefit of the kind of careful edi- 
torial work Whitehead had every right to expect— work which the Cam- 
bridge editor began but did not carry out consistently. Another problem is 
that there are over three hundred divergencies between the two original 
editions. In these places it is impossible simply to leave the text as it was— 
a choice must be made. And clearly, in most of these places the Cambridge 
punctuation is preferable and must be followed— it would be totally irre- 
sponsible to revert to Macmillan's punctuation. But once Cambridge's 
punctuation has been followed in these places, the question arises, How 
could one justify accepting Cambridge's improvements in these instances 
and yet not make similar improvements in parallel passages? 

Accordingly, in trying to steer a middle course between these two ex- 
tremes we decided that the most responsible plan of action would be to 
take the changes introduced bv the Cambridge editor (which, of course, 
were made during Whitehead's life-time and could have been vetoed in his 
personal copies) as precedents for the kinds of changes to be carried out 
consistently. A prime example is provided by the fact that Cambridge 
deleted many, but not all, of the commas which often appeared between 
the subject and the verb in Macmillan. However, we left some other ques- 
tionable practices (e.g., the frequent use of a semicolon where grammatical 
rules would call for a comma) as they were, primarily because Cambridge 
did not provide sufficient precedents for changes, even though we would 

Editors' Preface ix 

ourselves have suggested changes to Whitehead had we been editing this 
book in 1929, 

Working within these guidelines, the editors have sought to produce a 
text that is free not only of the hundreds of blatant errors found in the 
original, especially in the Macmillan edition, but also free of many of the 
minor sorts of inconsistencies recognized and addressed to some extent by 
the Cambridge editor. 

It is in the matter of the more significant corrections involving word 
changes that editors must guard against the possibility that interpretative 
bias might lead to textual distortions. There were three factors which 
helped us guard against this possibility. First, we drew heavily upon a sub- 
stantial amount of previous work, coordinated by Sherburne, in which the 
suggested corrigenda lists of six scholars were collated and then circulated 
among eight scholars for opinions and observations. The publication of the 
results of these discussions, 7 plus the lengthy discussions that preceded and 
followed it, have established a consensus view about many items which 
provided guidance. Second, in their own work the two editors approach 
Whitehead's thought from different perspectives and focus their work 
around different sorts of interests. Third, we used the principle that no 
changes would be introduced into the text unless they were endorsed by 
both editors. 

We note, finally, that there can be no purely mechanical guidelines to 
guarantee objectivity and prevent distortion. Ultimately, editors must rely 
upon their own judgment, their knowledge of their texts, and their com- 
mon sense. Recognizing this, we accept full responsibility for the decisions 
we have made. 

Besides the issues discussed above, there were other editorial decisions 
to be made. There were substantial differences of format between the two 
original editions. Cambridge had a detailed Table of Contents at the be- 
ginning of the book, whereas Macmillan had only a brief listing of major 
divisions at the beginning with the detailed materials spread throughout 
the book as "Abstracts" prior to each of the five major Parts of the volume. 
Primarily because it is a nuisance to locate the various sections of this 
analytic Table of Contents in Macmillan, we have followed Cambridge in 
this matter. We have also followed the Cambridge edition in setting off 
some quotations and have let it guide us in regard to the question as to 
which quotations to set off (the Macmillan edition did not even set off 
page-length items). 

Since most of the secondary literature on Process and Reality gives page 
references to the Macmillan edition, we considered very seriously the pos- 
sibility of retaining its pagination in this new edition. For several technical 

7 Donald W, Sherburne, "Corrigenda for Process and Reality" in Kline, ed., 
op. cit, pp. 200-207. 

x Editors' Preface 

reasons this proved impractical. Consequently, we have inserted in this 
text, in brackets, the page numbers of the Macmillan edition, except in the 
Table of Contents. 

In regard to certain minor differences between the texts, some of which 
reflect American vs. British conventions, we have followed Macmillan. 
Examples are putting periods and commas inside the quotation marks, 
numbering the footnotes consecutively within each chapter rather than on 
each page, and writing "Section" instead of using the symbol "$." 

Except for those matters, which simply reflect different conventions, we 
have left a record of all of the changes which we have made. That is, in the 
Editors' Notes at the back of the book we have indicated all the diver- 
gencies (or, in a few cases, types of divergencies) from both original edi- 
tions, no matter how trivial, thereby giving interested scholars access to 
both previous readings through this corrected edition. We have indicated 
in the text, by means of single and double obelisks ( f and i ) , the places 
where these divergencies occur. The more exact meaning of these symbols, 
plus that of the single and double asterisks, is explained in the introductory 
statement to the Editors' Notes. 

The original editions had woefully inadequate Indexes. For this volume, 
Griffin has prepared a totally new, enormously expanded Index. Sincere 
thanks are due to Professor Marjorie Suchocki, who correlated the Index 
items to the pagination in this new edition, and to Professor Bernard M. 
Loomer, who many years ago prepared an expanded Index which was made 
available to other scholars. 

One other edition of Process and Reality has appeared which has not yet 
been mentioned. In 1969, The Free Press published a paperback edition. 
It should in no way be confused with the present corrected edition, pub- 
lished by the same company. The 1969 edition did not incorporate the 
corrigenda which had been published by Sherburne; it added some new- 
errors of its own; it introduced yet another pagination without indicating 
the previous standard pagination; and it did not contain a new Index. We 
wish to commend The Free Press for now publishing this corrected edition. 

We acknowledge most gratefully the support of the Vanderbilt Uni- 
versity Research Council, which provided Sherburne with travel funds and 
released time to work on this project. We are also deeply indebted to the 
Center for Process Studies, which has supported this project extensively, 
and in turn to both the Claremont Graduate School and the School of 
Theology at Claremont, which give support to the Center. Finally, we 
express our warm appreciation to Rebecca Parker Beyer, who was a great 
help in comparing texts and reading proofs. 

David Ray Griffin 
Center for Process Studies 

Donald W. Sherburne 
Vanderbilt University 


[v]* These lectures are based upon a recurrence to that phase of philo- 
sophic thought which began with Descartes and ended with Hume. The 
philosophic scheme which they endeavour to explain is termed the 'Phi- 
losophy of Organism/ There is no doctrine put forward which cannot cite 
in its defence some explicit statement of one of this group of thinkers, 
or of one of the two founders of all Western thought, Plato and Aristotle. 
But the philosophy of organism is apt to emphasize just those elements 
in the writings of these masters which subsequent systematizers have put 
aside. The writer who most fully anticipated the main positions of the 
philosophy of organism is John Locke in his Essay, especially x in its later 

The lectures are divided into five parts. In the first part, the method is 
explained, and thet scheme of ideas, in terms of which the cosmology is to 
be framed, is stated summarily. 

In the second part,* an endeavour is made to exhibit this scheme as ade- 
quate for the interpretation of the ideas and problems which form the 
complex texture of civilized thought. Apart from such an investigation the 
summary statement of Part I is practically unintelligible. Thus Part II at 
once gives meaning to the verbal phrases of the scheme by their use in 
discussion, and shows the power of the scheme to put the various elements 
of our experience into a consistent relation to each other. In order to ob- 
tain a reasonably complete account of human experience considered in 
relation to the philosophical [vi\ problems which naturally arise, the group 
of philosophers and scientists belonging to the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries has been considered, in particular Descartes, Newton, Locke, 
Hume, Kant. Any one of these writers is one-sided in his presentation of 
the groundwork of experience; but as a whole they give a general presenta- 
tion which dominates the development of subsequent philosophy. I started 
the investigation with the expectation of being occupied with the exposi- 
tion of the divergencies from every member of this group. But a careful 
examination of their exact statements disclosed that in the main the 
philosophy of organism is a recurrence to pre-Kantian modes of thought. 
These philosophers were perplexed by the inconsistent presuppositions 
underlying their inherited modes of expression. In so far as they, or their 

1 Cf. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. IV, Ch. VI, Sect. 11.* 


xii Preface 

successors, have endeavoured to be rigidly systematic, the tendency has 
been to abandon just those elements in their thought upon which the 
philosophy of organism bases itself. An endeavour has been made to point 
out the exact points of agreement and of disagreement. 

In the second part, the discussions of modern thought have been con- 
fined to the most general notions of physics and biology, with a careful 
avoidance of all detail. Also, it must be one of the motives of a complete 
cosmology to construct a system of ideas which brings t the aesthetic, 
moral, and religious interests into relation with those concepts of the 
world which have their origin in natural science. 

In the third and fourth parts, the cosmological scheme is developed in 
terms of its own categoreal notions, and without much regard to other 
systems of thought. For example, in Part II there is a chapter on the 
'Extensive Continuum/ which is largely concerned with the notions of 
Descartes and Newton, compared with the way in which the organic phi- 
losophy must interpret this feature of the world. But in Part IV, this ques- 
tion is treated from the point of view of developing the detailed method 
[viz] in which the philosophy of organism establishes the theory of this 
problem. It must be thoroughly understood that the theme of these lec- 
tures is not a detached consideration of various traditional philosophical 
problems which acquire urgency in certain traditional systems of thought. 
The lectures are intended to state a condensed scheme of cosmological 
ideas, to develop their meaning by confrontation with the various topics 
of experience, and finally to elaborate an adequate cosmology in terms of 
which all particular topics find theirt interconnections. Thus the unity 
of treatment is to be looked for in the gradual development of the scheme, 
in meaning and in relevance, and not in the successive treatment of par- 
ticular topics. For example, the doctrines of time, of space, of perception, 
and of causality are recurred to again and again, as the cosmology de- 
velops. In each recurrence, these topics throw some new light on the 
scheme, or receive some new elucidation. At the end, in so far as the enter- 
prise has been successful, there should be no problem of space-time, or 
of epistemology, or of causality, left over for discussion. The scheme should 
have developed all those generic notions adequate for the expression of any 
possible interconnection of things. 

Among the contemporary schools of thought, my obligations to the 
English and American Realists are obvious. In this connection, I should 
like especially to mention Professor T. P. Nunn, of the University of 
London. His anticipations, in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, of 
some of the doctrines of recent Realism, do not appear to be sufficiently 
well known. 

I am also greatly indebted to Bergson, William James, and John Dewey. 
One of my preoccupations has been to rescue their type of thought from 
the charge of anti-intellectualism, which rightly or wrongly has been asso- 
ciated with it. Finally, though throughout the main body of the work I 

Preface xiii 

am in sharp disagreement with Bradley, the final outcome is after all not 
so greatly different. I am particularly indebted to his chapter on the nature 
[viii] of experience, which appears in his Essays on Truth and Reality. 
His insistence on 'feeling' is very consonant with my own conclusions. 
This whole metaphysical position is an implicit repudiation of the doctrine 
of Vacuous actuality/ 

The fifth part is concerned with the final interpretation of the ultimate 
way in which the cosmological problem is to be conceived. It answers the 
question, What does it all come to? In this part, the approximation to 
Bradley is evident. Indeed, if this cosmology be deemed successful, it be- 
comes natural at this point to ask whether the type of thought involved 
be not a transformation of some main doctrines of Absolute Idealism onto 
a realistic basis. 

These lectures will be best understood by noting the following list of 
prevalent habits of thought, which are repudiated, in so far as concerns 
their influence on philosophy: 

(i) The distrust of speculative philosophy. 

(ii) The trust in language as an adequate expression of propositions. 

(iii) The mode of philosophical thought which implies, and is implied 
by, the faculty-psychology. 

(iv) The subject-predicate form of expression. 

(v) The sensationalist doctrine of perception. 

(vi) The doctrine of vacuous actuality. 

(vii) The Kantian doctrine of the objective world as a theoretical con- 
struct from purely subjective experience. 

(viii) Arbitrary deductions in ex absurdo arguments. 

(ix) Belief that logical inconsistencies can indicate anything else than 
some antecedent errors. 

By reason of its ready acceptance of some, or all. of these nine myths 
and fallacious procedures, much nineteenth-century philosophy excludes 
itself from relevance to the ordinary stubborn facts of daily life. 

The positive doctrine of these lectures is concerned with the becoming, 
the being, and the relatedness of 'actual entities/ An "actual entity' is a 
res vera in the [ix] Cartesian sense of that term; 2 it is a Cartesian 'sub- 
stance/ and not an Aristotelian 'primary substance/ But Descartes re- 
tained in his metaphysical doctrine the Aristotelian dominance of the 
category of 'quality' over that of 'relatedness/ In these lectures 'relatedness' 
is dominant over 'quality/ All relatedness has its foundation in the re- 
latedness of actualities; and such relatedness is wholly concerned with the 
appropriation of the dead by the living— that is to say, with 'objective im- 
mortality' whereby what is divested of its own living immediacy becomes 

2 1 derive my comprehension of this element in Descartes' thought from Pro- 
fessor Gilson of the Sorbonne. I believe that he is the first to insist on its im- 
portance. He is, of course, not responsible for the use made of the notion in 
these lectures. 

xiv Preface 

a real component in other living immediacies of becoming. This is the 
doctrine that the creative advance of the world is the becoming, the perish- 
ing, and the objective immortalities of those things which jointly con- 
stitute stubborn fact 

The history of philosophy discloses two cosmologies which at different 
periods have dominated European thought, Plato's Timaeus, 3 and the 
cosmology of the seventeenth century, whose chief authors were Galileo, 
Descartes, Newton, Locke. In attempting an enterprise of the same kind, 
it is wise to follow the clue that perhaps the true solution consists in a 
fusion of the two previous schemes, with modifications demanded by self- 
consistency and the advance of knowledge. The cosmology explained in 
these lectures has been framed in accordance with this reliance on the 
positive value of the philosophical tradition. One test of success is ade- 
quacy in the comprehension of the variety of experience within the limits 
of one scheme of ideas. The endeavour to satisfy this condition is illus- 
trated by comparing Chapters III, VII, and X of Part II, respectively 
entitled The Order of Nature/ The Subjectivist Principle/ and Trocess/ 
with Chapter [x] V of Part III, entitled The Higher Phases of Experience/ 
and with Chapter V of Part IV, entitled 'Measurement/ and with Chap- 
ter II of Part V. entitled 'God and thet World/ These chapters should 
be recognizable as the legitimate outcome of the one scheme of ideas 
stated in the second chapter of Part I. 

In these lectures I have endeavoured to compress the material derived 
from years of meditation. In putting out these results, four strong impres- 
sions dominate my mind: First, that the movement of historical, and 
philosophical, criticism of detached questions, which on the whole has 
dominated the last two centuries, has done its work, and requires to be 
supplemented by a more sustained effort of constructive thought. Sec- 
ondly, that the true method of philosophical construction is to frame a 
scheme of ideas, the best that one can, and unflinchingly to explore the 
interpretation of experience in terms of that scheme. Thirdly, that all 
constructive thought, on the various special topics of scientific interest, is 
dominated by some such scheme, unacknowledged, but no less influential 
in guiding the imagination. The importance of philosophy lies in its 
sustained effort to make such schemes explicit, and thereby capable of 
criticism and improvement. 

There remains the final reflection, how shallow, puny, and imperfect are 
efforts to sound the depths in the nature of things. In philosophical dis- 
cussion, the merest hint of dogmatic certainty as to finality of statement 
is an exhibition of folly. 

In the expansion of these lectures to the dimensions of the present book, 

3 1 regret that Professor A. E. Taylor's Commentary on Plato's Timaeus was 
only published after this work was prepared for the press. Thus, with the excep- 
tion of one small reference, no use could be made of it. I am very greatly in- 
debted to Professor Taylor's other writings. 

Preface xv 

I have been greatly indebted to the critical difficulties suggested by the 
members of my Harvard classes. Also this work would never have been 
written without the constant encouragement and counsel which I owe to 
my wife. 

A. N. W. 
Harvard University 
January, 1929 


Editors' Preface v 

Preface xi 


Chapter I. Speculative Philosophy 


I. Speculative Philosophy; Coherent, Logical, Necessary System 

of Ideas; Interpretation of Experience. 
II. Defects of Insight and of Language; Conditions for Observa- 
tion; Rigid Empiricism, Imagination, Generalization; Co- 
herence and Incoherence; Creativity, the Ultimate. 

III. Rationalism and Dogmatism; Scheme as a Matrix, False and 

True Propositions, Use of the Matrix; Experimental Adven- 

IV. Philosophy and Science, Grades of Generality; Dogmatic Influ- 

ence of Mathematics; Progress of Philosophy. 
V. Defects of Language; Propositions and Their Background; 
Metaphysical Presupposition; Excessive Trust in Language; 
Metaphysics and Practice; Metaphysics and Linguistic Ex- 
VI. Speculative Philosophy and Overambition; Overambition, 
Dogmatism and Progress; Interpretation and Metaphysics; 
The Higher Elements of Experience, Subjectivity and the 
Metaphysical Correction; Morality, Religion, Science, Con- 
nected by Philosophy; Contrast between + Religion and Sci- 
ence; Conclusion. 

Chapter II. The Categoreal Scheme 18 

I. Four Notions, namely, Actual Entity, Prehension, Nexus, the 
Ontological Principle; Descartes and Locke; Philosophy 
Explanatory of Abstraction, Not of Concreteness. 
II. The Four Sets of Categories; The Category of the Ultimate; 


xviii Contents 


Conjunction and Disjunction; Creativity, the Principle of 
Novelty, Creative Advance; Togetherness, Concrescence; 
Eight Categories of Existence; Twenty-Seven Categories of 

III. Nine Categoreal Obligations. 

IV. Preliminary Notes; Complete Abstraction Self-Contradictory; 

Principles of Unrest and of Relativity; Actual Entities never 
Change; Perishing of Occasions and Their Objective Im- 
mortality; Final Causation and Efficient Causation; Mul- 
tiplicities; Substance. 

Chapter III. Some Derivative Notions 31 

I. Primordial Nature of God; Relevance, the Divine Ordering; 
Consequent Nature of God; Creativity and Its Acquirement 
of Character; Creatures, Objective Immortality, Appetition, 
Novelty, Relevance; Appetition and Mentality, Conceptual 
Prehensions, Pure and Impure Prehensions; Synonyms and 
Analogies, namely, t Conceptual Prehension, Appetition, In- 
tuition, Physical Purpose, Vision, Envisagement. 
II. Social Order, Defining Characteristic, Substantial Form; Per- 
sonal Order, Serial Inheritance, Enduring Object; Corpus- 
cular Societies. 

III. Classic Notion of Time, Unique Seriality; Continuity of Be- 

coming, Becoming of Continuity, Zeno; Atomism and Con- 
tinuity; Corpuscular and Wave Theories of Light. 

IV. Consciousness, Thought, Sense-Perception are Unessential Ele- 

ments in an Instance of Experience. 


Chapter I. Fact and Form 39 

I. Appeal to Facts, European Tradition; Plato, Aristotle, Des- 
cartes, Locke, Hume, Kant; Intrinsic Reasonableness; Foot- 
notes to Plato; This Cosmology Platonic; Participating 
Forms; Divine Ordering; Ontological Principle; Facts the 
only Reasons; Facts are Process; Prehension, Satisfaction. 
II. Rationalism a Faith, Adventure of Hope; Limits of Theory, 
Givenness,t Professor A. E. Taylor on Plato; Decision, the 

Contents xix 


Ontological Principle; Entities and Process, Actual Entities 
and Decision; Stubborn Fact. 

III. Platonic Form 7 Idea, Essence, Eternal Object; Potentiality and 

Givenness; Exclusiveness of the Given; Subject-Superject, 
Becoming and Being; Evaporation of Indeterrnination in 
Concrescence, Satisfaction Determinate and Exclusive; Con- 
crescence Dipolar; Potentiality, Givenness, Impossibility; 

IV. Actual Occasions Internally Determined,! Externally Free; 

Course of History not Necessary, No Perfection; Efficient 
Causation and Final Reaction; God's Primordial Freedom; 
Each Concrescence between Definite Free Initiation and 
Definite Free Conclusion, the Former Macrocosmic, the 
Latter Microcosmic. 
V. Universals and Particulars, Unsuitable Terms with False Im- 
plication; Illustration from Descartes, also Hume; Des- 
cartes' Alternative Doctrine, Realitas Objective, Inspectio, 
Intuitio, Judicium; World not Describable in Terms of Sub- 
ject and Predicate. Substance and Quality, Particular and 
Universal; Universal Relativity. 
VI. Locke's Essay ,t Agreement of Organic Philosophy with It; Sub- 
stitute 'Experience 7 for 'Understanding'; Ideas and Prehen- 
sions; Locke's Two Doctrines of Ideas, Ideas of Particular 
Things; Representative Theory of Perception; Logical Sim- 
plicity and Genetic Priority not to be Identified; Substance, 
Exterior Things, Societies; Solidarity of the Universe. 
VII. Locke's Doctrine of Power, Power and Substance; Causal 
Objectification and Presentational Objectification; Change 
Means Adventures of Eternal Objects; Real Essence, 
Abstract Essence; Doctrine of Organism and Generation of 
Actual Entities. 

Chapter II. The Extensive Continuum 61 

I. Continuum and Real Potentiality, Atomized by Actual Occa- 
sions; How the Continuum is Experienced, Presentational 
Immediacy, Sensa; Real Chair and Chair-Image; Complex 
Ingression of Sensa. 
II. General Potentiality and Pxeal Potentiality; Standpoints of 
Actual Occasions, Determined by Initial Phase of Subjective 
Aim; Extensive Relationships; The Epochal Theory of 
Time, Zeno, William James. 
III. Newton's Scholium, 

xx Contents 


IV. Newton's Scholium, Comparison with Philosophy of Organism 
and with Descartes; 'Withness of the Body/ Status of the 
Body in the Actual World; Ontological Status of Space for 
Newton, Descartes and the Organic Philosophy. 
V. Undifferentiated Endurance and the Passivity of Substance, 
Source of Errors. 

VI. Summary. 

Chapter III. The Order of Nature 83 

I. Order and Givenness Contrasted; The Four Characteristics 
of Order; Attainment of End, Lure of** Feeling; Causa Sui. 
II. 'Society' Defined, Defining Characteristic and Genetic Inher- 
itance; Environment,! Social and Permissive; Cosmic Epoch, 
Social Hierarchy. 

III. Evolution of Societies, Decay, Chaos, the Timaeus, the Schol- 

ium, Milton. 

IV. Societies in this Cosmic Epoch; The Extensive Society, the 

Geometric Society. Electromagnetic Society; Waves. Elec- 
trons, Protons. 
V. Enduring Objects, Corpuscular Societies, Structured Societies. 
VI. Stability, Specialization. 

VII. Problem of Stabilization, Exclusion of Detail, Conceptual Ini- 
tiative, Life. 
VIII. Inorganic Apparatus for Life. 
IX. Life a Reaction against Society, Originality. 
X. Life and Food, Life in Empty Space, Catalytic Agent. 
XL Living Persons, Canalization of Life, Dominant Personality 
only Partial. 

Chapter IV. Organisms and Environment 110 

I. Reaction of Environment on Actual Occasions; Narrowness 
and Width, Dependent on Societies, Orderly Element; 
Chaos, Triviality, Orderliness, Depth; Triviality,! Vagueness, 
Narrowness, Width; Incompatibility, Contrast; Triviality, 
Excess of Differentiation; Vagueness, Excess of Identifica- 
tion; Nexus as One, Vagueness, Narrowness, Depth; Coor- 
dination % of Chaos, Vagueness, Narrowness, Width. 
II. Intensity, Narrowness; Philosophy of Organism, Kant, Locke. 
III. Sensa, Lowest Category of Eternal Objects, Definition; Sensa, 
Contrasts of, Intensity; Contrasts in High and Low Cate- 
gories, Patterns; Eternal Objects, Simplicity, Complexity; 
Sensa Experienced Emotionally. 

Contents xxi 


IV. Transmission, Diverse Routes, Inhibitions, Intensification; 

Vector Character, Form of Energy; Physical Science. 
V. Environmental Data as in Perception; Visual Perception, 
Most Sophisticated Form; Originated by Antecedent State 
of Animal Body, Hume; Animal Body and External Envi- 
ronment, Amplifier.! 

VI. Perception and Animal Body, Causal Efficacy. 
VII. Causal Efficacy, Viscera; Presentational Immediacy, Delusive 
Perceptions, Secondary Qualities, Extension, Withness of 
Body; Hume, Kant. 
VIII. Loci Disclosed by Perception; Contemporary Regions, Causal 
Past, Causal Future; Immediate Present, Unison of Becom- 
ing, Concrescent Unison, Duration; Differentiation between 
Immediate Present and Presented Duration; Presented 

IX. Presented Locus and Unison of Becoming; Presented Locus, 
Systematic Relation to Animal Body, Strains, Independence 
of External Contemporary Happenings, Straight Lines, 
Measurement; Unison of Becoming, Duration. 
X. Summary. 

Chapter V. Locke and Hume 130 

I. Hume, Perceptions, Substance, Principle of Union; Ideas, 

Copies of Impressions, Imaginative Freedom. 
II. Hume and 'Repetition/ Cause and Effect; Memory, Force 
and Vivacity. 

III. Time, Hume, Descartes, Independence of Successive Occa- 

sions; Objective Immortality. 

IV. Influence of Subject-Predicate Notion; Hume, Descartes, 

Locke, Particular Existence. 
V. Hume and Locke, Process and Morphology; False Derivation 
of Emotional Feelings; Sensationalist Doctrine; Santayana. 

Chapter VI. From Descartes to Kant 144 

I. Descartes, Three Kinds of Substance: Extended, Mental, 
God's; Three Kinds of Change, of Accidents, Origination, 
Cessation; Accidental Relations, Representative Ideas; Un- 
essential Experience of External World. 
II. Locke, Empiricism, Adequacy, Inconsistency; Particular Exis- 
tent, Substance, Power; Relativity, Perpetually Perishing. 

III. Analogy and Contrast with Philosophy of Organism. 

IV. Hume and Process, Kant, Santayana. 

V. Contrasted Procedures of Philosophy of Organism and Kant. 

xxii Contents 

Chapter VII. The Subjectivist Principle 157 


I. The Subjectivist Principle and the Sensationalist Principle; 
The Sensationalist Doctrine Combines Both; Locke, Hume, 
Kant; Statement of the Principles; The Three Premises 
for the Subjectivist Principle; Philosophy of Organism 
Denies the Two Principles and the Three Premises; Des- 
cartes; 'That Stone as Grey/ Substance and Quality, Organs 
of Sensation; Descartes' Subjectivist Modification; 'Percep- 
tion of that Stone as Grey'; Failure to Provide Revised 
Categories; Hume. 
II. Knowledge, Its Variations, Vaguenesses; Negative Perception 
the General Case, Consciousness is the Feeling of Negation, 
Novelty; Consciousness a Subjective Form, Only Present in 
Late Derivative Phases of Complex Integrations; Conscious- 
ness only Illuminates the Derivative Types of Objective 
Data, Philosophy Misled by Clearness and Distinctness. 

III. Primitive Type of Physical Experience is Emotional; Vector 

Transmission of Feeling, Pulses of Emotion, Wave-Length; 
Human Emotion is Interpreted Emotion, Not Bare Emo- 
tional Feeling. 

IV. Decision Regulating Ingression of Eternal Objects, Old Meet- 

ing New; The Three Phases of Feeling:! Conformal, Con- 
ceptual, Comparative; Eternal Objects and Subjective 
Forms; Continuity of the Phases; Category of Objective 
V. Reformed Subjectivist Principle is Another Statement of Prin- 
ciple of Relativity; Process is the Becoming of Experience; 
Hume's Principle Accepted, This Method only Errs in 
Detail; 'Law' for 'Causation' no Help; Modern Philosophy 
Uses Wrong Categories; Two Misconceptions:! (i) Vacuous 
Actuality, (ii) Inherence of Quality in Substance. 

Chapter VIII. Symbolic Reference 168 

I. Two Pure Modes of Perception, Symbolic Reference; Com- 
mon Ground, Integration, Originative Freedom, Error; 
Common Ground, Presented Locus, Geometrical Indistinct- 
ness in Mode of Causal Efficacy; Exceptions, Animal Body, 
Withness of Body. 
II. Common Ground, Common Sensa; Modern Empiricism, 
Make-Believe, Hume; Sensa Derived from Efficacy of Body; 
HI. Mistaken Primacy of Presentational Immediacy, Discussion, 
Causal Efficacy Primitive. 

Contents xxiii 

IV, Further Discussion; Causation and Sense-Perception, 
V. Comparison of Modes; Integration in Symbolic Reference. 
VI. Principles of Symbolism, Language. 

Chapter IX. The Propositions? 184 

I. Impure Prehensions by Integration of Pure Conceptual and 
Pure Physical Prehensions; Physical Purposes and Propo- 
sitions Discriminated; Theory, Not Primarily for Judgment, 
Lures for Feeling; Objective Lure; Final Cause; General 
and Singular Propositions; Logical Subjects, Complex Pred- 
icate; Propositions True or False; Lure to Novelty; Felt 
'Contrary' is Consciousness in Germ; Judgment and Enter- 
tainment; Graded Envisagement. 
II. Truth and Falsehood, Experiential Togetherness of Propo- 
sitions and Fact; Correspondence and Coherence Theory; 
Propositions True or False, Judgments Correct or Incor- 
rect or Suspended; Intuitive and Derivative Judgments; 
Logic Concerned with Derivative Judgments; Error. 

III. Systematic Background Presupposed by Each Proposition; Re- 

lations, Indicative Systems of Relations; Propositions and 
Indicative Systems; Illustration, Inadequacy of Words. 

IV, Metaphysical Propositions; One and One Make Two, 

V. Induction, Probability, Statistical Theory, Ground, Sampling, 

Finite Numbers. 
VI. Suppressed Premises in Induction, Presupposition of Defi- 
nite Type of Actuality Requiring Definite Type of Envi- 
ronment; Wider Inductions Invalid; Statistical Probability 
within Relevant Environment. 

VII. Objectification Samples Environment.* 

VIII. Alternative Non-Statistical Ground; Graduated Appetitions, 
Primordial Nature of God; Secularization of Concept of 
God's Functions. 

Chapter X. Process 208 

I. Fluency and Permanence; Generation and Substance; Spa- 
tialization; Two Kinds of Fluency:! Macroscopic and Micro- 
scopic, from Occasion to Occasion and within Each Occa- 
II. Concrescence, Novelty, Actuality; Microscopic Concrescence. 
III. Three Stages of Microscopic Concrescence; Vector Charac- 
ters Indicate Macroscopic Transition; Emotion, and Sub- 
jective Form Generally, is Scalar in Microscopic Origina- 
tion and is the Datum for Macroscopic Transition. 

xxiv Contents 


IV. Higher Phases of Microscopic Concrescence. 
V. Summary. 


Chapter I. The Theory of FEELiNGst 219 

I. Genetic and Morphological Analysis; Genetic Consideration 
is Analysis of the Concrescence, the Actual Entity Forma- 
liter; Morphological Analysis is Analysis of the Actual 
Entity as Concrete, Spatialized, Objective A 
II. Finite Truth, Division into Prehensions; Succession of Phases, 
Integral Prehensions in Formation; Five Factors: Subject, 
Initial Data, Elimination, Objective Datum, Subjective 
Form; Feeling is Determinate. 

III. Feeling Cannot be Abstracted from Its Subject; Subject, Aim 

at the Feeler, Final Cause, Causa Sui. 

IV. Categories of Subjective Unity, of Objective Identity, of 

Objective Diversity. 

V. Category of Subjective Unity; The One Subject is the Final 
End Conditioning Each Feeling, Episode in Self-Produc- 
tion; Pre-established Harmony, Self-Consistency of a Prop- 
osition, Subjective Aim; Category of Objective Identity, 
One Thing has one R61e, No Duplicity, One Ground of 
Incompatibility; Category of Objective Diversity, No Di- 
verse Elements with Identity of Function, Another Ground 
of Incompatibility. 

VI. World as a Transmitting Medium; Explanation; Negative 

Prehensions, with Subjective Forms. 
VII. Application of the Categories. 
VIII. Application (continued) A 

IX. Nexus. 

X. Subjective Forms; Classification of Feelings According to Data; 
Simple Physical Feelings, Conceptual Feelings, Transmuted 
Feelings; Subjective Forms not Determined by Data, Con- 
ditioned by Them. 

XL Subjective Form, Qualitative Pattern, Quantitative Pattern; In- 
tensity; Audition of Sound. 
XII. Prehensions not Atomic, Mutual Sensitivity; Indefinite Num- 
ber of Prehensions; Prehensions as Components in the Sat- 
isfaction and Their Genetic Growth; Justification of the 

Contents xxv 


Analysis of the Satisfaction, Eighth and Ninth Categories 
of Explanation. 

Chapter II. The Primary Feelings 236 

I. Simple Physical Feeling, Initial Datum is one Actual Entity, 
Objective Datum is one Feeling Entertained by that one 
Actual Entity; Act of Causation, Objective Datum the 
Cause, Simple Physical Feeling the Effect; Synonymously 
'Causal Feelings'; Primitive Act of Perception, Initial Datum 
is Actual Entity Perceived, Objective Datum is the Per- 
spective, In General not Conscious Perception; Reason for 
'Perspective'; Vector Transmission of Feeling, Re-enaction, 
Conformal; Irreversibility of Time; Locke; Eternal Objects 
Relational, Two- Way R61e, Vector-Transference, Reproduc- 
tion, Permanence; Quanta of Feeling Transferred, Quantum- 
Theory in Physics, Physical Memory; Atomism, Continuity, 
Causation, Memory, Perception, Quality, Quantity, Ex- 
II. Conceptual Feelings, Positive and Negative Prehensions; Cre- 
ative Urge Dipolar; Datum is an Eternal Object; Exclu- 
siveness of Eternal Objects as Determinants, Definiteness, 

III. Subjective Form of Conceptual Prehension is Valuation; Inte- 

gration Introduces Valuation into Impure Feelings, Inten- 
siveness; Three Characteristics of Valuation: (i) Mutual 
Sensitivity of Subjective Forms, (ii) Determinant of Pro- 
cedure of Integration, (iii) Determinant of Intensive Em- 

IV. Consciousness is Subjective Form; Requires Its Peculiar Da- 

tum; Recollection, Plato, Hume; Conscious Feelings always 
Impure, Requires Integration of Physical and Conceptual 
Feelings; Affirmation and Negative Contrast; Not all Im- 
pure Feelings Conscious. 

Chapter III. The Transmission of Feelings 244 

I. Ontological Principle, Determination of Initiation of Feeling; 
Phases of Concrescence; God, Inexorable Valuation, Sub- 
jective Aim; Self-Determination Imaginative in Origin, Re- 
II. Pure Physical Feelings, Hybrid Physical Feelings; Hybrid Feel- 
ings Transmuted into Pure Physical Feelings; Disastrous 
Separation of Body and Mind Avoided; Hume's Principle, 
Hybrid Feelings with God as Datum. 

xxvi Contents 


III. Application of First Categoreal Obligation: Supplementary 

Phase Arising from Conceptual Origination; Application of 
Fourth and Fifth Categoreal Obligations; Conceptual 
Reversion; Ground of Identity, Aim at Contrast. 

IV. Transmutation; Feeling a Nexus as One, Transmuted Physi- 

cal Feeling; R61e of Impartial Conceptual Feeling in Trans- 
mutation, Category of Transmutation, Further Explana- 
tions; Conceptual Feelings Modifying Physical Feelings; 
Negative Prehensions Important. 
V. Subjective Harmony, the Seventh Categoreal Obligation. 

Chapter IV. Propositions and Feelings 256 

I. Consciousness, Propositional Feelings, Not Necessarily Con- 
scious; Propositional Feeling is Product of Integration of 
Physical Feeling with a Conceptual Feeling; Eternal Objects 
Tell no Tales of Actual Occasions, Propositions are Tales 
That Might be\ Told of Logical Subjects; Proposition, True 
or False, Tells no Tales about Itself, Awaits Reasons; Con- 
ceptual Feeling Provides Predicative Pattern, Physical Feel- 
ing Provides Logical Subjects, Integration; Indication of 
Logical Subjects, Element of Givenness Required for Truth 
and Falsehood. 
II. Proposition not Necessarily Judged, Propositional Feelings not 
Necessarily Conscious; New Propositions Arise; Possible 
Percipient Subjects within the 'Scope of a Proposition/ 

III. Origination of Propositional Feeling, Four (or Five) Stages, 

Indicative Feeling, Physical Precognition, Predicative Pat- 
tern (Predicate), Predicative Feeling; Propositional Feeling 
Integral of Indicative and Predicative Feelings. 

IV. Subjective Forms of Propositional Feelings, Dependent on 

Phases of Origination; Case of Identity of Indicative Feel- 
ing with the Physical Recognition, Perceptive Feelings;t 
Case of Diversity, Imaginative Feelings; Distinction not 
Necessarily Sharp-Cut; The Species of Perceptive Feelings: 
Authentic, Direct Authentic, Indirect Authentic, Unau- 
thentic; Tied Imagination. 
V. Imaginative Feelings, Indicative Feeling and Physical Recog- 
nition Diverse, Free Imagination; Subjective Form Depends 
on Origination, Valuation rather than Consciousness; Lure 
to Creative Emergence; Criticism of Physical Feelings, 
Truth, Critical Conditions. 
VI. Language, Its Functionjf Origination of the Necessary Train 
of Feelings. 

Contents xxvii 

Chapter V. The Higher Phases of Experience 266 


I. Comparative Feelings, Conscious Perceptions, Physical Pur- 
poses; Physical Purposes More Primitive than Proposi- 
tional Feelings. 
II. Intellectual Feelings, Integration of Propositional Feeling with 
Physical Feeling of a Nexus Including the Logical Subjects; 
Category of Objective Identity, Affirmation-Negation Con- 
trast; Consciousness is a Subjective Form. 

III. Belief, Certainty, Locke, Immediate Intuition. 

IV. Conscious Perception, Recapitulation of Origin; Direct and 

Indirect Authentic Feelings, Unauthentic Feelings; Trans- 
mutation; Perceptive Error, Novelty; Tests, Force and 
Vivacity, Analysis of Origination; Tests Fallible. 
V. Judgment, Yes-Form, No-Form, Suspense-Form; In Yes-Form 
Identity of Patterns, In No-Form Diversity and Incompati- 
bility, In Suspense-Form t Diversity and Compatibility; In- 
tuitive Judgment, Conscious Perception. 
VI. Affirmative Intuitive Judgment Analogous to Conscious Per- 
ception, Difference Explained; Inferential Judgment; Diver- 
gence from Locke's Nomenclature; Suspended Judgment. 
VII. Physical Purposes, Primitive Type of Physical Feeling; Retain- 
ing Valuation and Purpose, Eliminating Indeterminate- 
ness of Complex Eternal Object; Responsive Re-enaction; 
VIII. Second Species of Physical Purposes, Reversion Involved; 
Eighth Categoreal Obligation, Subjective Intensity; Imme- 
diate Subject, Relevant Future; Balance, Conditions for 
Contrast; Reversion as Condition for Balanced Contrast; 
Rhythm, Vibration; Categoreal Conditions; Physical Pur- 
poses and Propositional Feelings Compared. 


Chapter I. Coordinate Division 283 

I. Genetic Division is Division of the Concrescence, Coordinate 
Division is Division of the Concrete; Physical Time Arises 
in the Coordinate Analysis of the Satisfaction; Genetic 
Process not the Temporal Succession; Spatial and Temporal 
Elements in the Extensive Quantum; The Quantum is the 
Extensive Region; Coordinate Divisibility; Subjective Unity 

xxviii Contents 


Indivisible; Subjective Forms Arise from Subjective Aim; 
World as a Medium, Extensively Divisible; Indecision as to 
Selected Quantum. 
II. Coordinate Divisions and Feelings; Mental Pole Incurably 
One; Subjective Forms of Coordinate Divisions Depend on 
Mental Pole, Inexplicable Otherwise; A Coordinate Division 
is a Contrast, a Proposition, False, but Useful Matrix. 

III. Coordinate Division, the World as an Indefinite Multiplicity; 

Extensive Order, Routes of Transmission; External Exten- 
sive Relationships, Internal Extensive Division, One Basic 
Scheme; Pseudo Sub-organisms, Pseudo Super-organisms, 
Professor de Laguna's 'Extensive Connection/ 

IV. Extensive Connection is the Systematic Scheme Underlying 

Transmission of Feelings and Perspective; Regulative Con- 
ditions; Descartes; Grades of Extensive Conditions, Dimen- 
V. Bifurcation of Nature; Publicity and Privacy. 
VI. Classification of Eternal Objects; Mathematical Forms, Sensa. 
VII. Elimination of the Experient Subject, Concrescent Immediacy. 

Chapter II. Extensive Connection 294 

I. Extensive Connection, General Description. 
II. Assumptions, i.e., Postulates, i.e.,* Axioms and Propositions 
for a Deductive System. 

III. Extensive Abstraction. Geometrical Elements, Points, Seg- 


IV. Points, Regions, Loci; Irrelevance of Dimensions. 

Chapter III. Flat Loci 302 

I. Euclid's Definition of 'Straight Line/ 

II. Weakness of Euclidean Definition; Straight Line as Shortest 
Distance, Dependence on Measurement; New Definition of 
Straight Lines, Ovals. 

III. Definition of Straight Lines, Flat Loci, Dimensions. 

IV. Contiguity. 

V. Recapitulation. 

Chapter IV. Strains 310 

I. Definition of a Strain, Feelings Involving Flat Loci among the 
Forms of Definiteness of Their Objective Data; 'Seat' of a 

Contents xxix 


Strain; Strains and Physical Behaviour; Electromagnetic 
Occasions Involve Strains. 
II. Presentational Immediacy Involves Strains; Withness of the 
Body, Projection, Focal Region; Transmission of Bodily 
Strains, Transmutation, Ultimate Percipient, Emphasis; Pro- 
jection of the Sensa, Causal Efficacy Transmuted in Pre- 
sentational Immediacy; Massive Simplification; Types of 
Energy; Hume; Symbolic Transference, Physical Purpose. 

III. Elimination of Irrelevancies, Massive Attention to Systematic 

Order; Design of Contrasts; Importance of Contemporary 
Independence; Advantage to Enduring Objects. 

IV. Structural Systems, Discarding Individual Variations; Physi- 

cal Matter Involves Strain-Loci. 
V. The Various Loci Involved :t Causal Past, Causal Future, Con- 
temporaries, Durations, Part of a Duration, Future of a 
Duration, Presented Duration, Strain-Locus. 

Chapter V. Measurement 322 

I. Identification of Strain-Loci with Durations only Approximate; 
Definitions Compared; Seat of Strain, Projectors; Strain- 
Loci and Presentational Immediacy. 
II. Strain-Locus Wholly Determined by Experient; Seat and Pro- 
jectors Determine Focal Region; Animal Body Sole Agent 
in the Determination; Vivid Display of Real Potentiality of 
Contemporary World; New Definition of Straight Lines 
Explains this Doctrine; Ways of Speech, Interpretation of 
Direct Observation; Descartes' Inspectio. Realitas Objective, 

III. Modern Doctrine of Private Psychological Fields; Secondary 

Qualities, Sensa; Abandons Descartes' Realitas Objectiva; 
Difficulties for Scientific Theory, AH Observation in Pri- 
vate Psychological Fields; Illustration, Hume; Conclusion, 
Mathematical Form, Presentational Immediacy in one 
Sense Barren, in Another Sense has Overwhelming Signifi- 

IV. Measurement Depends on Counting and on Permanence; 

What Counted, What Permanent; Yard-Measure Perma- 
nent, Straight; Infinitesimals no Explanation; Approximation 
to Straightness, Thus Straightness Presupposed; Inches 
Counted, Non-Coincident; Modern Doctrine is Possibility of 
Coincidence, Doctrine Criticized; Coincidence is Test of 
Congruence, Not Meaning; Use of Instrument Presupposes 

xxx Contents 


Its Self-Congruence: Finally all Measurement Depends on 
Direct Intuition of Permanence of Untested Instrument; 
Theory of Private Psychological Fields Makes Scientific 
Measurement Nonsense. 
V. Meaning of Congruence in Terms of Geometry of Straight 
Lines; Systems of Geometry; Sets of Axioms: Equivalent 
Sets, Incompatible Sets; Three Important Geometries :t El- 
liptic Geometry, Euclidean Geometry, Hyperbolic Geome- 
try; Two Definitions of a Plane; Characteristic Distinction 
between the Three Geometries; Congruence Depends on 
Systematic Geometry. 
VI. Physical Measurement, Least Action, Presupposes Geometrical 
Measurement; Disturbed by Individual Peculiarities; Phys- 
ical Measurement Expressible in Terms of Differential 
Geometry; Summary of Whole Argument. 


Chapter I. The Ideal Opposites 337 

I. Danger to Philosophy is Narrowness of Selection; Variety of 
Opposites :t Puritan Self-Restraint and Aesthetic Joy, Sor- 
row and Joy; Religious Fervour and Sceptical Criticism, 
Intuition and Reason. 
II. Permanence and Flux, Time and Eternity. 

III. Order as Condition for Excellence, Order as Stifling Excel- 

lence; Tedium, Order Entering upon Novelty is Required; 
Dominant Living Occasion is Organ of Novelty for Animal 

IV. Paradox:! Craving for Novelty, Terror at Loss; Final Religious 

Problem; Ultimate Evil is Time as 'Perpetually Perishing'; 
Final Opposites :t Joy and Sorrow, Good and Evil, Disjunc- 
tion and Conjunction, Flux and Permanence, Greatness and 
Triviality, Freedom and Necessity, God and the World; 
These Pairs Given in Direct Intuition, except the Last Pair 
Which is Interpretive. 

Chapter II. God and the World 342 

I. Permanence and Fiux, God as Unmoved Mover; Conceptions 
of God:t Imperial Ruler, Moral Energy, Philosophical Prin- 
II. Another Speaker to Hume's Dialogues Concerningf Natural 

Contents xxxi 


Religion; Primordial Nature Deficiently Actual, Neither 
Love nor Hatred for Actualities, Quotation from Aristotle. 

III. God's Nature Dipolar, Conceptual and Physical; This Physical 

Nature Derived from the World; Two Natures Compared. 

IV. God's Consequent Nature, Creative Advance Retaining Uni- 

son of Immediacy, Everlastingness; Further Analysis, Ten- 
derness, Wisdom, Patience; Poet of the World, Vision of 
Truth, Beauty, Goodness. 
V. Permanence and Flux, Relation of God to the World; Group 
of Antitheses: God and the World Each the Instrument of 
Novelty for the Other. 
VI. Universe Attaining Self-Expression of Its Opposites. 
VII. God as the Kingdom of Heaven; Objective Immortality At- 
taining Everlastingness, Reconciliation of Immediacy with 
Objective Immortality. 

Index 353 

Editors 7 Notes 389 




[4] This course of lectures is designed as an essay in Speculative Philos- 
ophy. Its first task must be to define 'speculative philosophy/ and to de- 
fend it as a method productive of important knowledge. 

Speculative Philosophy is the endeavour to frame a coherent, logical, 
necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our 
experience can be interpreted. By this notion of 'interpretation' I mean 
that everything of which we are conscious, as enjoyed, perceived, willed, 
or thought, shall have the character of a particular instance of the general 
scheme. Thus the philosophical scheme should be coherent, logical, and, 
in respect to its interpretation, applicable and adequate. Here 'applicable' 
means that some items of experience are thus interpretable, and 'ade- 
quate' means that there are no items incapable of such interpretation. 

[5] 'Coherence,' as here employed, means that the fundamental ideas, in 
terms of which the scheme is developed, presuppose each other so that in 
isolation they are meaningless. This requirement does not mean that they 
are definable in terms of each other; it means that what is indefinable in 
one such notion cannot be abstracted from its relevance to the other 
notions. It is the ideal of speculative philosophy that its fundamental no- 
tions shall not seem capable of abstraction from each other. In other words, 
it is presupposed that no entity can be conceived in complete abstraction 
from the system of the universe, and that it is the business of speculative 
philosophy to exhibit this truth. This character is its coherence. 

The term 'logical' has its ordinary meaning, including 'logical' con- 
sistency, or lack of contradiction, the definition of constructs in logical 
terms, the exemplification of general logical notions in specific instances, 
and the principles of inference. It will be observed that logical notions must 
themselves find their places in the scheme of philosophic notions. 

It will also be noticed that this ideal of speculative philosophy has its 
rational side and its empirical side. The rational side is expressed by the 
terms 'coherent' and 'logical/ The empirical side is expressed by the terms 
'applicable' and 'adequate.' But the two sides are bound together by 
clearing away an ambiguity which remains in the previous explanation of 
the term 'adequate.' The adequacy of the scheme over every item does not 
mean adequacy over such items as happen to have been considered. It 

4 The Speculative Scheme 

means that the texture of observed experience, as illustrating the philo- 
sophic scheme, is such that all related experience must exhibit the same 
texture. Thus the philosophic scheme should be 'necessary/ in the sense of 
bearing in itself its own warrant of universality throughout all experience, 
provided that we confine ourselves to that which communicates with im- 
mediate matter of fact. But what does not so communicate is [6] unknow- 
able, and the unknowable is unknown; x and so this universality defined by 
'communication' can suffice. 

This doctrine of necessity in universality means that there is an essence 
to the universe which forbids relationships beyond itself, as a violation of 
its rationality. Speculative philosophy seeks that essence. 


Philosophers can never hope finally to formulate these metaphysical 
first principles. Weakness of insight and deficiencies of language stand in 
the way inexorably. Words and phrases must be stretched towards a gen- 
erality foreign to their ordinary usage; and however such elements of lan- 
guage be stabilized as technicalities, they remain metaphors mutely ap- 
pealing for an imaginative leap. 

There is no first principle which is in itself unknowable, not to be cap- 
tured by a flash of insight. But, putting aside the difficulties of language, 
deficiency in imaginative penetration forbids progress in any form other 
that that of an asymptotic approach to a scheme of principles, only de- 
finable in terms of the ideal which they should satisfy. 

The difficulty has its seat in the empirical side of philosophy. Our datum 
is the actual world, including ourselves; and this actual world spreads itself 
for observation in the guise of the topic of our immediate experience. The 
elucidation of immediate experience is the sole justification for any 
thought; and the starting-point* for thought is the analytic observation of 
components of this experience. But we are not conscious of any clear-cut 
complete analysis of immediate experience, in terms of the various details 
which comprise its definiteness. We habitually observe by the method of -~ 
difference. Sometimes we see an elephant, and sometimes we do not. The 
result is that an elephant, when present, is noticed. [7] Facility of observa- 
tion depends on the fact that the object observed is important when 
present, and sometimes is absent. ^ 

The metaphysical first principles can never fail of exemplification. We 
can never catch the actual world taking a holiday from their sway. Thus, 
for the discovery of metaphysics, the method of pinning down thought to 
the strict systematization of detailed discrimination, already effected by 
antecedent observation, breaks down. This collapse of the method of rigid 
empiricism is not confined to metaphysics. It occurs whenever we seek the 

1 This doctrine is a paradox. Indulging in a species of false modesty, 'cautious' 
philosophers undertake its definition. 

Speculative Philosophy 5 

larger generalities. In natural science this rigid method is the Baconian 
method of induction, a method which, if consistently pursued, would have 
left science where it found it. What Bacon omitted was the play of a 
free imagination, controlled by the requirements of coherence and logic. 
The true method of discovery is like the flight of an aeroplane. It starts 
from the ground of particular observation; it makes a flight in the thin air 
of imaginative generalization; and it again lands for renewed observation 
rendered acute by rational interpretation. The reason for the success of 
this method of imaginative rationalization is that, when the method of 
difference fails, factors which are constantly present may yet be observed 
under the influence of imaginative thought. Such thought supplies the 
differences which the direct observation lacks. It can even play with in- 
consistency; and can thus throw light on the consistent, and persistent, 
elements in experience by comparison with what in imagination is incon- 
sistent with them. The negative judgment is the peak of mentality. But 
the conditions for the success of imaginative construction must be rigidly 
adhered to. In the first place, this construction must have its origin in the 
generalization of particular factors discerned in particular topics of human 
interest; for example, in physics, or in physiology, or in psychology, or in 
aesthetics, or in ethical beliefs, or in sociology, or in languages conceived 
as storehouses of human experience. In [8] this way the prime requisite, that 
anyhow there shall be some important application, is secured. The success 
of the imaginative experiment is always to be tested by the applicability 
of its results beyond the restricted locus from which it originated. In de- 
fault of such extended application, a generalization started from physics, 
for example, remains merely an alternative expression of notions appli- 
cable to physics. The partially successful philosophic generalization will, 
if derived from physics, find applications in fields of experience beyond 
physics. It will enlighten observation in those remote fields, so that gen- 
eral principles can be discerned as in process of illustration, which in 
the absence of the imaginative generalization are obscured by their per- 
sistent exemplification. 

Thus the first requisite is to proceed by the method of generalization 
so that certainly there is some application; and the test of some success 
is application beyond the immediate origin. In other words, some synop- 
tic vision has been gained. 

In this description of philosophic method, the term 'philosophic gen- 
eralization' has meant 'the utilization of specific notions, applying to a 
restricted group of facts, for the divination of the generic notions which 
apply to all facts/ 

In its use of this method natural science has shown a curious mixture 
of rationalism and irrationalism. Its prevalent tone of thought has been 
ardently rationalistic within its own borders, and dogmatically irrational 
beyond those borders. In practice such an attitude tends to become a dog- 
matic denial that there are any factors in the world not fully expressible 

6 The Speculative Scheme 

in terms of its own primary notions devoid of further generalization. Such 
a denial is the self-denial of thought. 

The second condition for the success of imaginative construction is un- 
flinching pursuit of the two rationalistic ideals, coherence and logical per- 

Logical perfection does not here require any detailed [9] explanation. An 
example of its importance is afforded by the role of mathematics in the re- 
stricted field of natural science. The history of mathematics exhibits the 
generalization of special notions observed in particular instances. In any 
branches of mathematics, the notions presuppose each other. It is a re- 
markable characteristic of the history of thought that branches of math- 
ematics,! developed under the pure imaginative impulse, thus controlled, 
finally receive their important application. Time may be wanted. Conic 
sections had to wait for eighteen hundred years. In more recent years, the 
theory of probability, the theory of tensors, the theory of matrices are 
cases in point. 

The requirement of coherence is the great preservative of rationalistic 
sanity. But the validity of its criticism is not always admitted. If we con- 
sider philosophical controversies, we shall find that disputants tend to re- 
quire coherence from their adversaries, and to grant dispensations to them- 
selves. It has been remarked that a system of philosophy is never refuted; 
it is only abandoned. The reason is that logical contradictions, except as 
temporary slips of the mind— plentiful, though temporary— are the most 
gratuitous of errors; and usually they are trivial. Thus, after criticism, sys- 
tems do not exhibit mere illogicalities. They suffer from inadequacy and 
incoherence. Failure to include some obvious elements of experience in 
the scope of the system is met by boldly denying the facts. Also while a 
philosophical system retains any charm of novelty, it enjoys a plenary 
indulgence for its failures in coherence. But after a system has acquired 
orthodoxy, and is taught with authority, it receives a sharper criticism. 
Its denials and its incoherences are found intolerable, and a reaction sets 

Incoherence is the arbitrary disconnection of first principles. In modern 
philosophy Descartes' two kinds of substance, corporeal and mental, illus- 
trate incoherence. There is, in Descartes 7 philosophy, no reason why there 
should not be a one-substance world, only corporeal, or [10] a one-substance 
world, only mental. According to Descartes, a substantial individual 're- 
quires nothing but itself in order to exist/ Thus this system makes a virtue 
of its incoherence. But,t on the other hand, the facts seem connected, while 
Descartes' system does not; for example, in the treatment of the body- 
mind problem. The Cartesian system obviously says something that is 
true. But its notions are too abstract to penetrate into the nature of things. 

The attraction of Spinoza's philosophy lies in its modification of Des- 
cartes' position into greater coherence. He starts with one substance, 

Speculative Philosophy 7 

causa sui, and considers its essential attributes and its individualized modes, 
i.e., the 'affectiones substantial The gap in the system is the arbitrary in- 
troduction of the 'modes/ And yet, a multiplicity of modes is a fixed 
requisite, if the scheme is to retain any direct relevance to the many oc- 
casions in the experienced world. 

The philosophy of organism is closely allied to Spinoza's scheme of 
thought. But it differs by the abandonment of the subject-predicate forms 
of thought, so far as concerns the presupposition that this form is a direct 
embodiment of the most ultimate characterization of fact. The result is 
that the 'substance-quality' concept is avoided; and that morphological 
description is replaced by description of dynamic process. Also Spinoza's 
'modes' now become the sheer actualities; so that, though analysis of them 
increases our understanding, it does not lead us to the discovery of any 
higher grade of reality. The coherence, which the system seeks to preserve, 
is the discovery that the process, or concrescence, of any one actual entity 
involves the other actual entities among its components. In this way the 
obvious solidarity of the world receives its explanation. 

In all philosophic theory there is an ultimate which is actual in virtue 
of its accidents. It is only then capable of characterization through its 
accidental" embodiments, and apart from these accidents is devoid of [11] 
actuality. In the philosophy of organism this ultimate is termed 'creativity'; 
and God is its primordial, non-temporal accident.* In monistic philoso- 
phies, Spinoza's or absolute idealism, this ultimate is God, who is also 
equivalently termed 'The Absolute.' In such monistic schemes, the ulti- 
mate is illegitimately allowed a final, 'eminent' reality, beyond that ascribed 
to any of its accidents. In this general position the philosophy of organ- 
ism seems to approximate more to some strains of Indian, or Chinese, 
thought, than to western Asiatic, or European, thought. One side makes 
process ultimate; the other side makes fact ultimate. 


In its turn every philosophy will suffer a deposition. But the bundle 
of philosophic systems expresses a variety of general truths about the 
universe, awaiting coordination and assignment of their various spheres 
of validity. Such progress in coordination is provided by the advance of 
philosophy; and in this sense philosophy has advanced from Plato onwards. 
According to this account of the achievement of rationalism, the chief 
error in philosophy is overstatement. The aim at generalization is sound, 
but the estimate of success is exaggerated. There are two main forms of 
such overstatement. One form is what I have termed, f elsewhere, 2 the 
'fallacy of misplaced concreteness. 7 This fallacy consists in neglecting the 
degree of abstraction involved when an actual entity is considered merely 

2 Cf. Science and the Modem World, Ch. III. 

8 The Speculative Scheme 

so far as it exemplifies certain categories of thought. There are aspects of 
actualities which are simply ignored so long as we restrict thought to these 
categories. Thus the success of a philosophy is to be measured by its com- 
parative avoidance of this fallacy, when thought is restricted within its 

The other form of overstatement consists in a false estimate of logical 
procedure in respect to certainty, and in respect to premises. Philosophy 
has been haunted by the unfortunate notion that its method is dogmati- 
cally to indicate premises which are severally clear, distinct, and [12] cer- 
tain; and to erect upon those premises a deductive system of thought. 

But the accurate expression of the final generalities is the goal of dis- 
— cussion and not its origin. Philosophy has been misled by the example of 
mathematics; and even in mathematics the statement of the ultimate 
logical principles is beset with difficulties, as yet insuperable. 3 The verifi- 
cation of a rationalistic scheme is to be sought in its general success, and 
not in the peculiar certainty, or initial clarity, of its first principles. In 
this connection the misuse of the ex absurdo argument has to be noted; 
much philosophical reasoning is vitiated by it. The only logical conclusion 
to be drawn, when a contradiction issues from a train of reasoning, is that 
at least one of the premises involved in the inference is false. It is rashly 
assumed without further question that the peccant premise can at once 
be located. In mathematics this assumption is often justified, and phi- 
losophers have been thereby misled. But in the absence of a well-defined 
categoreal scheme of entities, issuing in a satisfactory metaphysical system, 
every premise in a philosophical argument is under suspicion. 

Philosophy will not regain its proper status until the gradual elaboration 
of categoreal schemes, definitely stated at each stage of progress, is recog- 
nized as its proper objective. There may be rival schemes, inconsistent 
among themselves; each with its own merits and its own failures. It will 
then be the purpose of research to conciliate the differences. Metaphysical 
categories are not dogmatic statements of the obvious; they are tentative 
formulations of the ultimate generalities. 

If we consider any scheme of philosophic categories as one complex 
assertion, and apply to it the logician's alternative, true or false, the answer 
must be that the scheme is false. The same answer must be given to a like 
ques- [13] tion respecting the existing formulated principles of any science. 

The scheme is true with unformulated qualifications, exceptions, limita- 
tions, and new interpretations in terms of more general notions. We do 
not yet know how to recast the scheme into a logical truth. But the scheme 
is a matrix from which true propositions applicable to particular circum- 
stances can be derived. We can at present only trust our trained instincts 

3 Cf. Principia Mathematica, by Bertrand Russell and A. N. Whitehead, Vol. 
I, Introduction and Introduction to the Second Edition. These introductory 
discussions are practically due to Russell, and in the second edition wholly so. 

Speculative Philosophy 9 

as to the discrimination of the circumstances in respect to which the 
scheme is valid. 

The use of such a matrix is to argue from it boldly and with rigid logic. 
The scheme should therefore be stated with the utmost precision and 
definiteness, to allow of such argumentation. The conclusion of the argu- 
ment should then be confronted with circumstances to which it should 

The primary advantage thus gained is that experience is not interrogated 
with the benumbing repression of common sense. The observation acquires 
an enhanced penetration by reason of the expectation evoked by the con- 
clusion of the argument. The outcome from this procedure takes one of 
three forms: (i) the conclusion may agree with the observed facts; (ii) the 
conclusion may exhibit general agreement, with disagreement in detail; 
(iii) the conclusion may be in complete disagreement witht the facts. 

In the first case, the facts are known with more adequacy and the ap- 
plicability of the system to the world has been elucidated. In the second 
case, criticisms of the observation of the facts and of the details of the 
scheme are both required. The history of thought shows that false inter- 
pretations of observed facts enter into the records of their observation. 
Thus both theory, and received notions as to fact, are in doubt. In the 
third case, a fundamental reorganization of theory is required either by 
way of limiting it to some special province, or by way of entire abandon- 
ment of its main categories of thought. 

[14] After the initial basis of a rational life, with a civilized language, has 
been laid, all productive thought has proceeded either by the poetic insight 
of artists, or by the imaginative elaboration of schemes of thought capable 
of utilization as logical premises. In some measure or other, progress is 
always a transcendence of what is obvious. 

Rationalism never shakes off its status of an experimental adventure. 
The combined influences of mathematics and religion, which have so 
greatly contributed to the rise of philosophy, have also had the unfortunate 
effect of yoking it with static dogmatism. Rationalism is an adventure in 
the clarification of thought, progressive and never final. But it is an ad- 
venture in which even partial success has importance. 


The field of a special science is confined to one genus of facts, in the 
sense that no statements are made respecting facts which lie outside that 
genus. The very circumstance that a science has naturally arisen concerning 
a set of facts secures that facts of that type have definite relations among 
themselves which are very obvious to all mankind. The common obvious- 
ness of things arises when their explicit apprehension carries immediate 
importance for purposes of survival, or of enjoyment— that is to say, for 
purposes of 'being' and of 'well-being/ Elements in human experience, 

10 The Speculative Scheme 

singled out in this way, are those elements concerning which language is 
copious and. within its limits, precise. The special sciences, therefore, deal 
with topics which lie open to easy inspection and are readily expressed by 

The study of philosophy is a voyage towards the larger generalities. 
For this reason in the infancy of science, when the main stress lay in the 
discovery of the most general ideas usefully applicable to the subject- 
matter in question, philosophy was not sharply distinguished from science. 
To this day, a new science with any substantial novelty in its notions is 
considered to be in some way [15] peculiarly philosophical. In their later 
stages, apart from occasional disturbances, most sciences accept without 
question the general notions in terms of which they develop. The main 
stress is laid on the adjustment and the direct verification of more special 
statements. In such periods scientists repudiate philosophy; Newton, justly 
satisfied with his physical principles, disclaimed metaphysics. 

The fate of Newtonian physics warns us that there is a development in 
scientific first principles, and that their original forms can only be saved 
by interpretations of meaning and limitations of their field of application- 
interpretations and limitations unsuspected during the first period of 
successful employment. One chapter in the history of culture is concerned 
with the growth of generalities. In such a chapter it is seen that the older 
generalities, like the older hills, are worn down and diminished in height, 
surpassed by younger rivals. 

Thus one aim of philosophy is to challenge the half-truths constituting 
the scientific first principles. The systematization of knowledge cannot be 
conducted in watertight compartments. All general truths condition each 
other; and the limits of their application cannot be adequately defined 
apart from their correlation by yet wider generalities. The criticism of 
principles must chiefly take the form of determining the proper meanings 
to be assigned to the fundamental notions of the various sciences, when 
these notions are considered in respect to their status relatively to each 
other. The determination of this status requires a generality transcending 
any special subject-matter. 

If we may trust the Pythagorean tradition, the rise of European philoso- 
phy was largely promoted by the development of mathematics into a 
science of abstract generality. But in its subsequent development the 
method of philosophy has also been vitiated by the example of mathe- 
matics. The primary method of mathematics is deduction; the primary 
method of philosophy is descrip- \16] tive generalization. Under the in- 
fluence of mathematics, deduction has been foisted onto philosophy as its 
standard method, instead of taking its true place as an essential auxiliary 
mode of verification whereby to test the scope of generalities. This mis- 
apprehension of philosophic method has veiled the very considerable suc- 
cess of philosophy in providing generic notions which add lucidity to our 
apprehension of the facts of experience. The depositions of Plato, Aristotle, 

Speculative Philosophy 11 

Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, t Locke, Berkeley, Hume, 
Kant, Hegel, merely mean that ideas which these men introduced into the 
philosophic tradition must be construed with limitations, adaptations, and 
inversions, either unknown to them, or even explicitly repudiated by them. 
A new idea introduces a new alternative; and we are not less indebted to 
a thinker when we adopt the alternative which he discarded. Philosophy 
never reverts to its old position after the shock of a great philosopher. 


Every science must devise its own instruments. The tool required for 
philosophy is language. Thus philosophy redesigns language in the same 
way that, in a physical science, pre-existing appliances are redesigned. It 
is exactly at this point that the appeal to facts is a difficult operation. This 
appeal is not solely to the expression of the facts in current verbal state- 
ments. The adequacy of such sentences is the main question at issue. It 
is true that the general agreement of mankind as to experienced facts is 
best expressed in language. But the language of literature breaks down 
precisely at the task of expressing in explicit form the larger generalities— 
the very generalities which metaphysics seeks to express. 

The point is that every proposition refers to a universe exhibiting some 
general systematic metaphysical character. Apart from this background, 
the separate entities which go to form the proposition, and the proposition 
as a whole, are without determinate character. Nothing [17] has been de- 
fined, because every definite entity requires a systematic universe to supply 
its requisite status. Thus every proposition proposing a fact* must, in its 
complete analysis, propose the general character of the universe required 
for that fact. There are no self-sustained facts, floating in nonentity. This 
doctrine, of the impossibility of tearing a proposition from its systematic 
context in the actual world, is a direct consequence of the fourth and the 
twentieth of the fundamental categoreal explanations which we shall be 
engaged in expanding and illustrating. A proposition can embody partial 
truth because it only demands a certain type of systematic environment, 
which is presupposed in its meaning. It does not refer to the universe in 
all its detail. 

One practical aim of metaphysics is the accurate analysis of propositions; 
not merely of metaphysical propositions, but of quite ordinary propositions 
such as There is beef for dinner today/ and 'Socrates is mortal/ The one 
genus of facts which constitutes the field of some special science requires 
some common metaphysical presupposition respecting the universe. It is 
merely credulous to accept verbal phrases as adequate statements of 
propositions. The distinction between verbal phrases and complete propo- 
sitions is one of the reasons why the logicians" rigid alternative, 'true or 
false," is so largely irrelevant for the pursuit of knowledge. 

12 The Speculative Scheme 

The excessive trust in linguistic phrases has been the well-known reason 
vitiating so much of the philosophy and physics among the Greeks and 
among the mediaeval thinkers who continued the Greek traditions. For 
example John Stuart Mill writes: 
They [the Greeks] t had great difficulty in distinguishing between 
things which their language confounded, or in putting mentally to- 
gether things which it distinguished,* and could hardly combine the 
objects in nature into any classes but those which were made for 
them by the popular phrases of their own country; or at least could 
not help fancying those classes to be natural, and all others arbitrary 
and artificial. Ac- [18] cordingly, scientific investigation among the 
Greek schools of speculation and their followers in the Middle Ages, 
was little more than a mere sifting and analysing of the notions at- 
tached to common language. They thought that by determining the 
meaning of words they could become acquainted with facts. 4 
Mill then proceeds to quote from Whewell 5 a paragraph illustrating the 
same weakness of Greek thought. 

But neither Mill, nor Whewell, tracks this difficulty about language 
down to its sources. They both presuppose that language does enunciate 
well-defined propositions. This is quite untrue. Language is thoroughly in- 
determinate, by reason of the fact that every occurrence presupposes some 
systematic type of environment. 

For example, the word 'Socrates/ referring to the philosopher, in one 
sentence may stand for an entity presupposing a more closely defined back- 
ground than the word 'Socrates/ with the same reference, in another sen- 
tence. The word 'mortal' affords an analogous possibility. A precise lan- 
guage must await a completed metaphysical knowledge. 

The technical language of philosophy represents attempts of various 
schools of thought to obtain explicit expression of general ideas pre- 
supposed by the facts of experience. It follows that any novelty in meta- 
physical doctrines exhibits some measure of disagreement with statements 
of the facts to be found in current philosophical literature. The extent of 
disagreement measures the extent of metaphysical divergence. It is, there- 
fore, no valid criticism on one metaphysical school to point out that its 
doctrines do not follow from the verbal expression of the facts accepted 
by another school. The whole contention is that the doctrines in question 
supply a closer approach to fully expressed propositions. 

The truth itself is nothing else than how the composite natures of the 
organic actualities of the world obtain ade- [19] quate representation in the 
divine nature. Such representations compose the 'consequent nature 7 of 
God, which evolves in its relationship to the evolving world without dero- 

* tLogic, Book V, Ch. III. 

5 Cf. Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences. 

Speculative Philosophy 13 

gation to the eternal completion of its primordial conceptual nature. In 
this way the 'ontological principle' is maintained— since there can be no 
determinate truth, correlating impartially the partial experiences of many 
actual entities, apart from one actual entity to which it can be referred. 
The reaction of the temporal world on the nature of God is considered 
subsequently in Part V: it is there termed 'the consequent nature of God; 

Whatever is found in 'practice' must lie within the scope of the meta- 
physical description. When the description fails to include the 'practice/ 
the metaphysics is inadequate and requires revision. There can be no 
appeal to practice to supplement metaphysics, so long as we remain con- 
tented with our metaphysical doctrines. Metaphysics is nothing but the 
description of the generalities which apply to all the details of practice. 

No metaphysical system can hope entirely to satisfy these pragmatic 
tests. At the best such a system will remain only an approximation to the 
general truths which are sought. In particular, there are no precisely stated 
axiomatic certainties from which to start. There is not even the language 
in which to frame them. The only possible procedure is to start from verbal 
expressions which, when taken by themselves with the current meaning of 
their words, are ill-defined and ambiguous. These are not premises to be 
immediately reasoned from apart from elucidation by further discussion; 
they are endeavours to state general principles which will be exemplified 
in the subsequent description of the facts of experience. This subsequent 
elaboration should elucidate the meanings to be assigned to the words 
and phrases employed. Such meanings are incapable of accurate appre- 
hension apart from a correspondingly accurate apprehension of the meta- 
physical background which the [20] universe provides for them. But no lan- 
guage can be anything but elliptical, requiring a leap of the imagination to 
understand its meaning in its relevance to immediate experience. The posi- 
tion of metaphysics in the development of culture cannot be understood 
without remembering that no verbal statement is the adequate expression 
of a proposition. 

An old established metaphysical system gains a false air of adequate 
precision from the fact that its words and phrases have passed into current 
literature. Thus propositions expressed in its language are more easily 
correlated to our flitting intuitions into metaphysical truth. When we trust 
these verbal statements and argue as though they adequately analysed 
meaning, we are led into difficulties which take the shape of negations of 
what in practice is presupposed. But when they are proposed as first prin- 
ciples they assume an unmerited air of sober obviousness. Their defect is 
that the true propositions which they do express lose their fundamental 
character when subjected to adequate expression. For example consider 
the type of propositions such as The grass is green/ and 'The whale is 
big/ This subject-predicate form of statement seems so simple, leading 
straight to a metaphysical first principle; and yet in these examples it con- 
ceals such complex, diverse meanings. 

14 The Speculative Scheme 


It has been an objection to speculative philosophy that it is over- 
ambitious. Rationalism, it is admitted, is the method by which advance 
is made within the limits of particular sciences. It is, however, held that 
this limited success must not encourage attempts to frame ambitious 
schemes expressive of the general nature of things. 

One alleged justification of this criticism is ill-success: European thought 
is represented as littered with metaphysical systems, abandoned and un- 

Such an assertion tacitly fastens upon philosophy the old dogmatic test. 
The same criterion would fasten ill- [21] success upon science. We no more 
retain the physics of the seventeenth century than we do the Cartesian 
philosophy of that century. Yet within limits, both systems express im- 
portant truths. Also we are beginning to understand the wider categories 
which define their limits of correct application. Of course, in that century, 
dogmatic views held sway; so that the validity both of the physical notions, 
and of the Cartesian notions, was misconceived. Mankind never quite 
knows what it is after. When we survey the history of thought, and like- 
wise the history of practice, we find that one idea after another is tried out, 
its limitations defined, and its core of truth elicited. In application to the 
instinct for the intellectual adventures demanded by particular epochs, 
there is much truth in Augustine's rhetorical phrase, Securus judicat orbis 
terrarum. At the very least, men do what they can in the way of system- 
atization, and in the event achieve something. The proper test is not that 
of finality, but of progress. 

But the main objection, dating from the sixteenth century and receiving 
final expression from Francis Bacon, is the uselessness of philosophic spec- 
ulation. The position taken by this objection is that we ought to describe 
detailed matter of fact, and elicit the laws with a generality strictly limited 
to the systcmatization of these described details. General interpretation, 
it is held, has no bearing upon this procedure; and thus any system of gen- 
eral interpretation, be it true or false, remains intrinsically barren. Un- 
fortunately for this objection, there are no brute, self-contained matters of 
fact, capable of being understood apart from interpretation as an element 
in a system. Whenever we attempt to express the matter of immediate ex- 
perience, we find that its understanding leads us beyond itself, to its con- 
temporaries, to its past, to its future, and to the universals in terms of 
which its definiteness is exhibited. But such universals, by their very charac- 
ter of universality, embody the potentiality of other facts with variant 
types of definiteness. Thus [22] the understanding of the immediate brute 
fact requires its metaphysical interpretation as an item in a world with some 
systematic relation to it. When thought comes upon the scene, it finds 
the interpretations as matters of practice. Philosophy does not initiate 
interpretations. Its search for a rationalistic scheme is the search for more 

Speculative Philosophy 15 

adequate criticism, and for more adequate justification, of the interpre- 
tations which we perforce employ. Our habitual experience is a complex 
of failure and success in the enterprise of interpretation. If we desire a 
record of uninterpreted experience, we must ask a stone to record its auto- 
biography. Every scientific memoir in its record of the 'facts' is shot 
through and through with interpretation. The methodology of rational 
interpretation is the product of the fitful vagueness of consciousness. Ele- 
ments which shine with immediate distinctness, in some circumstances, 
retire into penumbral shadow in other circumstances, and into black dark- 
ness on other occasions. And yet all occasions proclaim themselves as ac- 
tualities within the flux of a solid world, demanding a unity of interpre- 

Philosophy is the self-correction by consciousness of its own initial ex- 
cess of subjectivity. Each actual occasion contributes to the circumstances 
of its origin additional formative elements deepening its own peculiar 
individuality. Consciousness is only the last and greatest of such elements 
by which the selective character of the individual obscures the external 
totality from which it originates and which it embodies. An actual in- 
dividual, of such higher grade, has truck with the totality of things by 
reason of its sheer actuality; but it has attained its individual depth of being 
by a selective emphasis limited to its own purposes. The task of philosophy 
is to recover the totality obscured by the selection. It replaces in rational 
experience what has been submerged in the higher sensitive experience 
and has been sunk yet deeper by the initial operations of consciousness 
itself. The selectiveness of individual experience is moral so far as it con- 
[23] forms to the balance of importance disclosed in the rational vision; and 
conversely the conversion of the intellectual insight into an emotional force 
corrects the sensitive experience in the direction of morality. The correc- 
tion is in proportion to the rationality of the insight. 

Morality of outlook is inseparably conjoined with generality of outlook. 
The antithesis between the general good and the individual interest can be 
abolished only when the individual is such that its interest is the general 
good, thus exemplifying the loss of the minor intensities in order to find 
them again with finer composition in a wider sweep of interest. 

Philosophy frees itself from the taint of ineffectiveness by its close rela- 
tions with religion and with science, natural and sociological. It attains its 
chief importance by fusing the two, namely, religion and science, into one 
rational scheme of thought. Religion should connect the rational gen- 
erality of philosophy with the emotions and purposes springing out of 
existence in a particular society, in a particular epoch, and conditioned by 
particular antecedents. Religion is the translation of general ideas into 
particular thoughts, particular emotions, and particular purposes; it is di- 
rected to the end of stretching individual interest beyond its self-defeating 
particularity. Philosophy finds religion, and modifies it; and conversely 
religion is among the data of experience which philosophy must weave into 

16 The Speculative Scheme 

its own scheme. Religion is an ultimate craving to infuse into the insistent 
particularity of emotion that non-temporal generality which primarily be- 
longs to conceptual thought alone. In the higher organisms the differences 
of tempo between the mere emotions and the conceptual experiences pro- 
duce a life-tedium, unless this supreme fusion has been effected. The two 
sides of the organism require a reconciliation in which emotional experi- 
ences illustrate a conceptual justification, and conceptual experiences find 
an emotional illustration. 

[24] This demand for an intellectual justification of brute experience has 
also been the motive power in the advance of European science. In this 
sense scientific interest is only a variant form of religious interest. Any sur- 
vey of the scientific devotion to 'truth/ as an ideal, will confirm this state- 
ment. There is, however, a grave divergence between science and religion 
in respect to the phases of individual experience with which they are con- 
cerned. Religion is centered upon the harmony of rational thought with 
the sensitive reaction to the percepta from which experience originates. 
Science is concerned with the harmony of rational thought with the per- 
cepta themselves. When science deals with emotions, the emotions in 
question are percepta and not immediate passions— other people's emotion 
and not our own: at least our own in recollection, and not in immediacy. 
Religion deals with the formation of the experiencing subject; whereas 
science deals with the objects, which are the data forming the primary 
phase in this experience. The subject originates from, and amid, given 
conditions; science conciliates thought with this primary matter of fact; 
and religion conciliates the thought involved in the process with the sensi- 
tive reaction involved in that same process. The process is nothing else 
than the experiencing subject itself. In this explanation it is presumed that 
an experiencing subject is one occasion of sensitive reaction to an actual 
world. Science finds religious experiences among its percepta; and religion 
finds scientific concepts among the conceptual experiences to be fused with 
particular sensitive reactions. 

The conclusion of this discussion is, first, the assertion of the old doctrine 
that breadth of thought reacting with intensity of sensitive experience 
stands out as an ultimate claim of existence; secondly, the assertion that 
empirically the development of self-justifying thoughts has been achieved 
by the complex process of generalizing! from particular topics, of imagi- 
natively schematizing the generalizations, and finally by renewed compari- 
son [25] of the imagined scheme with the direct experience to which it 
should apply. 

There is no justification for checking generalization at any particular 
stage. Each phase of generalization exhibits its own peculiar simplicities 
which stand out just at that stage, and at no other stage. There are sim- 
plicities connected with the motion of a bar of steel which are obscured 
if we refuse to abstract from the individual molecules; and there are certain 
simplicities concerning the behaviour of men which are obscured if we 

Speculative Philosophy 17 

refuse to abstract from the individual peculiarities of particular specimens. 
In the same way. there are certain general truths, about the actual things 
in the common world of activity, which will be obscured when attention 
is confined to some particular detailed mode of considering them. These 
general truths, involved in the meaning of every particular notion respect- 
ing the actions of things, are the subject-matter* for speculative philosophy. 

Philosophy destroys its usefulness when it indulges in brilliant feats of 
explaining away. It is then trespassing with the wrong equipment upon 
the field of particular sciences. Its ultimate appeal is to the general con- 
sciousness of what in practice we experience. Whatever thread of presup- 
position characterizes social expression throughout the various epochs of 
rational societyt must find its place in philosophic theory. Speculative bold- 
ness must be balanced by complete humility before logic, and before fact. 
It is a disease of philosophy when it is neither bold nor humble, but 
merely a reflection of the temperamental presuppositions of exceptional 

Analogously, we do not trust any recasting of scientific theory depend- 
ing upon a single performance of an aberrant experiment, unrepeated. The 
ultimate test is always widespread, recurrent experience; and the more 
general the rationalistic scheme, the more important is this final appeal. 

The useful function of philosophy is to promote the [26] most general 
systematization of civilized thought. There is a constant reaction between 
specialism and common sense. It is the part of the special sciences to 
modify common sense. Philosophy is the welding of imagination and com- 
mon sense into a restraint upon specialists, and also into an enlargement 
of their imaginations. By providing the generic notions philosophy should 
make it easier to conceive the infinite variety of specific instances which 
rest unrealized in the womb of nature. 



[27] This chapter contains an anticipatory sketch of the primary notions 
which constitute the philosophy of organism. The whole of the subsequent 
discussion in these lectures has the purpose of rendering this summary 
intelligible, and of showing that it embodies generic notions inevitably 
presupposed in our reflective experience— presupposed, but rarely expressed 
in explicit distinction. Four notions may be singled out from this sum- 
mary, by reason of the fact that they involve some divergence from 
antecedent philosophical thought. These notions are, that of an 'actual 
entity/ that of a 'prehension,' that of a 'nexus/ and that of the 'ontological 
principle/ Philosophical thought has made for itself difficulties by dealing 
exclusively in very abstract notions, such as those of mere awareness, mere 
private sensation, mere emotion, mere purpose, mere appearance, mere 
causation. These are the ghosts of the old 'faculties/ banished from 
psychology, but still haunting metaphysics. There can be no 'mere' to- 
getherness of such abstractions. The result is that philosophical discussion 
is enmeshed in the fallacy of 'misplaced concreteness.' x In the three no- 
tions—actual entity, prehension, nexus— an endeavour has been made to 
base philosophical thought upon the most concrete elements in our ex- 

'Actual entities'- also termed 'actual occasions'— are the final real things - 
of which the world is made up. There is no going behind actual entities 
to find anything \28] more real. They differ among themselves: God is an 
actual entity, and so is the most trivial puff of existence in far-off empty 
space. But, though there are gradations of importance, and diversities of 
function, yet in the principles which actuality exemplifies all are on the 
same level. The final facts are, all alike, actual entities; and these actual 
entities are drops of experience, coi iplex and interdependent. 

In its recurrence to the notion oi a plurality of actual entities the phi- 
losophy of organism is through and through Cartesian. t The 'ontological 
principle' broadens and extends a general principle laid down by John 
Locke in his Essay (Bk. II, Ch. XXIII, Sect. 7),t when he asserts that 
"power" is "c? great part of our complex ideas of substances "\ The notion 

1 Cf. my Science and the Modern World, Ch. III. 

The Categoreal Scheme 19 

of 'substance' is transformed into that of 'actual entity'; and the notion 
of 'power' is transformed into the principle that the reasons for things are 
always to be found in the composite nature of definite actual entities— 
in the nature of God for reasons of the highest absoluteness, and in the 
nature of definite temporal actual entities for reasons which refer to a 
particular environment. The ontological principle can be summarized as: 
no actual entity, then no reason. 

Each actual entity is analysable in an indefinite number of ways. In 
some modes of analysis the component elements are more abstract than 
in other modes of analysis. The analysis of an actual entity into 'pre- 
hensions' is that mode of analysis which exhibits the most concrete ele- 
ments in the nature of actual entities. This mode of analysis will be termed 
the 'division' of the actual entity in question. Each actual entity is 'divis- 
ible' in an indefinite number of ways, and each way of 'division' yields its 
definite quota of prehensions. A prehension reproduces in itself the general 
characteristics of an actual entitv: it is referent to an external world, and 
in this sense will be said to have a 'vector character'; it involves emotion, 
and purpose, and valuation, and causation. In fact, any characteristic of 
an actual entity is reproduced [29] in a prehension. It might have been a 
complete actuality; but, by reason of a certain incomplete partiality, a pre- 
hension is only a subordinate element in an actual entity. A reference to 
the complete actuality is required to give the reason why such a prehension 
is what it is in respect to its subjective form. This subjective form is 
determined by the subjective aim at further integration, so as to obtain 
the 'satisfaction' of the completed subject. In other words, final causation 
and atomism are interconnected philosophical principles. 

With the purpose of obtaining a one-substance cosmology, 'prehensions' 
are a generalization from Descartes' mental 'cogitations,' and from 
Locke's 'ideas,' to express the most concrete mode of analysis applicable 
to every grade of individual actuality. Descartes and Locke maintained a 
two-substance ontology— Descartes explicitly, Locke by implication. Des- 
cartes, the mathematical physicist, emphasized his account of corporeal 
substance; and Locke, the physician and the sociologist, confined himself 
to an account of mental substance. The philosophy of organism, in its 
scheme for one type of actual entities, adopts the view that Locke's ac- 
count of mental substance embodies, in a very special form, a more pene- 
trating philosophic description than does Descartes' account of corporeal 
substance. Nevertheless, Descartes' account must find its place in the 
philosophic scheme. On the whole, this is the moral to be drawn from 
the Monadologyt of Leibniz. His monads are best conceived as generaliza- 
tions of contemporary notions of mentality. The contemporary notions 
of physical bodies only enter into his philosophv subordinately and deriv- 
atively. The philosophy of organism endeavours to hold the balance more 
evenly. But it does start with a generalization of Locke's account of mental 

20 The Speculative Scheme 

Actual entities involve each other by reason of their prehensions of each 
other. There are thus real individual facts of the togetherness of actual 
entities, which are real, individual, and particular, in the same sense in 
[30] which actual entities and the prehensions are real, individual, and par- 
ticular. Any such particular fact of togetherness among actual entities is 
called a *nexus ? (plural form is written 'nexus'). The ultimate facts of im- 
mediate actual experience are actual entities, prehensions, and nexus. All 
else is, for our experience, derivative abstraction. 

The explanatory purpose of philosophy is often misunderstood. Its 
business is to explain the emergence of the more abstract things from the 
more concrete things. It is a complete mistake to ask how concrete par- 
ticular fact can be built up out of universals. The answer is, In no way/ 
The true philosophic question 2 is, How can concrete fact exhibit entities 
abstract from itself and yet participated in by its own nature? 

In other words, philosophy is explanatory of abstraction, and not of 
concreteness. It is by reason of their instinctive grasp of this ultimate truth 
that, in spite of much association with arbitrary fancifulness and atavistic 
mysticism, types of Platonic philosophy retain their abiding appeal; they 
seek the forms in the facts. Each fact is more than its forms, and each 
form 'participates' throughout the world of facts. The definiteness of fact 
is due to its forms; but the individual fact is a creature, and creativity is 
the ultimate behind all forms, inexplicable by forms, and conditioned by 
its creatures. 


The Categories 

, I. The Category of the Ultimate. 

II. Categories of Existence. 

III. Categories of Explanation. 

IV. Categoreal Obligations. 

It is the purpose of the discussion in these lectures to make clear the 
meaning of these categories, their appli- [31] cability, and their adequacy. 
The course of the discussion will disclose how very far they are from 
satisfying this ideal. 

Every entity should be a specific instance of one category of existence, 
every explanation should be a specific instance of categories of explanation, 
and every obligation should be a specific instance of categoreal obliga- 

2 In this connection I may refer to the second chapter of my book The Princi- 
ple of Relativity, Cambridge University Press, t 1922. 

The Categoreal Scheme 21 

tions. The Category^ of the Ultimate expresses the general principle pre- 
supposed in the three more special categories. 

The Category of the Ultimate 

'Creativity/ 'many/ 'one' are the ultimate notions involved in the mean- 
ing of the synonymous terms 'thing/ 'being/ 'entity/ These three notions 
complete the Category of the Ultimate and are presupposed in all the 
more special categories. 

The term "'one* does not stand for 'the integral number one/ which is 
a complex special notion. It stands for the general idea underlying alike 
the indefinite article 'a or an/ and the definite article 'the/ and the demon- 
stratives 'this or that/ and the relatives 'which or what or how. 7 It stands 
for the singularity of an entity. The term 'many' presupposes the term 
'one/ and the term 'one' presupposes the term 'many/ The term 'many' 
conveys the notion of 'disjunctive diversity'; this notion is an essential* 
element in the concept of 'being/ There are many 'beings' in disjunctive 

'Creativity* is the universal of universals characterizing ultimate matter 
of fact. It is that ultimate principle by which the many, which are the* 
universe disjunctively, become the one actual occasion, which is the uni- 
verse conjunctively. It lies in the nature of things that the many enter 
into complex unity. 

'Creativity' is the principle of novelty. An actual occasion is a novel 
entity diverse from any entity in the 'many' which it unifies. Thus 'creativ- 
ity' introduces novelty into the content of the many, which are the [32] 
universe disjunctively. The 'creative advance' is the application of this ul- 
timate principle of creativity to each novel situation which it originates. 

'Together' is a generic term covering the various special ways in which 
various sorts of entities are 'together' in any one actual occasion. Thus 
'together' presupposes the notions 'creativity/ 'many/ 'one/ 'identity' and 
'diversity/ The ultimate metaphysical principle is the advance from dis- 
junction to conjunction, creating a novel entity other than the entities 
given in disjunction. The novel entity is at once the togetherness of the 
'many' which it finds, and also it is one among the disjunctive 'many' 
which it leaves; it is a novel entity, disjunctively among the many entities 
which it synthesizes. The many become one, and are increased by one. 
In their natures, entities are disjunctively 'many' in process of passage into 
conjunctive unity. This Category of the Ultimate replaces Aristotle's 
category of 'primary substance/ 

Thus the 'production of novel togetherness' is the ultimate notion em- 
bodied in the term 'concrescence/ These ultimate notions of 'production 
of novelty' and of 'concrete togetherness' are inexplicable either in terms of 
higher universals or in terms of the components participating in the con- 

22 The Speculative Scheme 

crescence. The analysis of the components abstracts from the concrescence. 
The sole appeal is to intuition. 

The Categories of Existence 

There are eight Categories of Existence: 

(i) Actual Entities (also termed Actual Occasions), or Final Realities, 
or Res Verae. 

(ii) Prehensions, or Concrete Facts of Relatedness. 

(iii) Nexus (plural of Nexus), or Public Matters of Fact. 

(iv) Subjective Forms, or Private Matters of Fact. 

(v) Eternal Objects, or Pure Potentials for the Specific Determination 
of Fact, or Forms of Definiteness. 

(vi) Propositions, or Matters of Fact in Potential [33] Determination, or 
Impure Potentials for the Specific Determination of Matters of Fact, or 

(vii) Multiplicities, or Pure Disjunctions of Diverse Entities. 

(viii) Contrasts, or Modes of Synthesis of Entities in one Prehension, 
or Patterned Entities. t 

Among these eight categories of existence, actual entities and eternal 
objects stand out with a certain extreme finality. The other types of exis- 
tence have a certain intermediate character. The eighth category includes 
an indefinite progression of categories, as we proceed from 'contrasts' to 
'contrasts of contrasts/ and on indefinitely to higher grades of contrasts. 

The Categories of Explanation 

There are twenty-seven Categories of Explanation: 

(i) That the actual world is a process, and that the process is the be- 
coming of actual entities. Thus actual entities are creatures; they are also 
termed 'actual occasions/ 

(ii) That in the becoming of an actual entity, the potential unity of 
many entities in disjunctive diversity*— actual and non-actual— acquires 
the real unity of the one actual entity; so that the actual entity is the real 
concrescence of many potentials. 

(iii) That in the becoming of an actual entity, novel prehensions, nexus, 
subjective forms, propositions, multiplicities, and contrasts, also become; 
but there are no novel eternal objects. 

(iv) That the potentiality for being an element in a real concrescence* 
of many entities into one actuality! is the one general metaphysical char- 
acter attaching to all entities, actual and non-actual; and that every item 
in its universe is involved in each concrescence. In other words, it belongs 
to the nature of a 'being' that it is a potential for every 'becoming/ This 
is the 'principle of relativity/ 

(v) That no two actual entities originate from an iden- \34] tical uni- 
verse; though the difference between the two universes only consists in 

The Categoreal Scheme 23 

some actual entities, included in one and not in the other, and in the sub- 
ordinate entities which each actual entity introduces into the world. The 
eternal objects are the same for all actual entities. The nexus of actual 
entities in the universe correlate to a concrescencef is termed 'the actual 
world' correlate to that concrescence. 

(vi) That each entity in the universe of a given concrescence can, so far 
as its own nature is concerned, be implicated in that concrescence in one 
or other of many modes; but in fact it is implicated only in one mode: 
that the particular mode of implication is only rendered fully determinate 
by that concrescence, though it is conditioned by the correlate universe. 
This indetermination, rendered determinate in the real concrescence, is 
the meaning of 'potentiality.' It is a conditioned indetermination, and is 
therefore called a 'real potentiality/ 

(vii) That an eternal object can be described only in terms of its poten- 
tiality for 'ingression' into the becoming of actual entities; and that its 
analysis only discloses other eternal objects. It is a pure potential. The 
term 'ingression' refers to the particular mode in which the potentiality of 
an eternal object is realized in a particular actual entity, contributing to 
the definiteness of that actual entity. 

(viii) That two descriptions are required for an actual entity: (a) one 
which is analytical of its potentiality for 'objectiflcation' in the becoming 
of other actual entities, and (b) another which is analytical of the process 
which constitutes its own becoming. 

The term 'objectification' refers to the particular mode in which the 
potentiality of one actual entity is realized in another actual entity. 

(ix) That how an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual 
entity is;t so that the two descriptions of an actual entity are not inde- 
pendent. Its 'being' is [35] constituted by its 'becoming; This is the 'prin- 
ciple of process/ 

(x) That the first analysis of an actual entity, into its most concrete 
elements, discloses it to be a concrescence of prehensions, which have 
originated in its process of becoming. All further analysis is an analysis 
of prehensions. Analysis in terms of prehensions is termed 'division/ 

(xi) That every prehension consists of three factors: (a) the 'subject' 
which is prehending, namely, the actual entity in which that prehension- 
is a concrete element; (b) the 'datum' which is prehended; (c) the 'sub- 
jective form' which is how that subject prehends that datum. 

Prehensions of actual entities— i.e., prehensions whose data involve 
actual entities — are termed 'physical prehensions'; and prehensions of 
eternal objects are termed 'conceptual prehensions/ Consciousness is not 
necessarily involved in the subjective forms of either type of prehension. 

(xii) That there are two species of prehensions: (a) 'positive prehen- 
sions' which are termed 'feelings,' and (b) 'negative prehensions' which 
are said to 'eliminate from feeling.' Negative prehensions also have sub- 
jective forms. A negative prehension holds its datum as inoperative in the 

24 The Speculative Scheme 

progressive concrescence of prehensions constituting the unity of the 

(xiii) That there are many species of subjective forms, such as emotions, 
valuations, purposes, adversions, aversions, consciousness, etc. 

(xiv) That a nexus is a set of actual entities in the unity of the related- 
ness constituted by their prehensions of each other, or— what is the same 
thing conversely expressed— constituted by their objectifications in each 

(xv) That a proposition is the unity of. certain actual entities in their 
potentiality for forming a nexus, with its potential relatedness partially 
defined by certain eternal objects which have the unity of one complex 
eternal [36] object. The actual entities involved are termed the 'logical sub- 
jects/ the complex eternal object is the 'predicate/ 

(xvi) That a multiplicity consists of many entities, and its unity is con- 
stituted by the fact that all its constituent entities severally satisfy at least 
one condition which no other entity satisfies. 

Every statement about a particular multiplicity can be expressed as a 
statement referent either (a) to all its members severally, or (b) to an 
indefinite some of its members severally, or (c) as a denial of one of these 
statements. Any statement, incapable of being expressed in this form, is 
not a statement about a multiplicity, though it may be a statement about 
an entity closely allied to some multiplicity, i.e., systematically allied to 
each member of some multiplicity. 

(xvii) That whatever is a datum for a feeling has a unity as felt Thus 
the many components of a complex datum have a unity: this unity is a 
'contrast' of entities. In a sense this means that there are an endless num- 
ber of categories of existence, since the synthesis of entities into a contrast 
in general produces a new existential type. For example, a proposition is, 
in a sense, a 'contrast/ For the practical purposes of 'human understand- 
ing/ it is sufficient to consider a few basic types of existence, and to lump 
the more derivative types together under the heading of 'contrasts/ The 
most important of such 'contrasts' is the 'affirmation-negation' contrast 
in which a proposition and a nexus obtain synthesis in one datum, the 
members of the nexus being the 'logical subjects' of the proposition. 

(xviii) That every condition to which the process of becoming conforms 
in any particular instance! has its reason either in the character of some 
actual entity in the actual world of that concrescence, or in the character 
of the subject which is in process of concrescence. This category of ex- 
planation is termed the 'ontological principle.' It could also be termed the 
'principle of efficient, [37] and final, causation/ This ontological principle 
means that actual entities are the only reasons; so that to search for a 
reason is to search for one or more actual entities. It follows that any 
condition to be satisfied by one actual entity in its process expresses a fact 
either about the 'real internal constitutions' of some other actual entities, 
or about the 'subjective aim' conditioning that process. 

The Categoreal Scheme 25 

The phrase 'real internal constitution' is to be found in Locke's Essay 
Concerning Human Understanding (III, III, 15): "And thus the real 
internal (but generally in substances unknown) constitution of things, 
whereon their discoverable qualities depend, may be called their 'es- 
sence/ " Also the terms 'prehension' and 'feeling' are to be compared with 
the various significations of Locke's term 'idea.' But they are adopted as 
more general and more neutral terms than 'idea' as used by Locke, who 
seems to restrict them to conscious mentality. Also the ordinary logical 
account of 'propositions' expresses only a restricted aspect of their role in 
the universe, namely, when they are the data of feelings whose subjective 
forms are those of judgments. It is an essential doctrine in the philosophy 
of organism that the primary function of a proposition is to be relevant as 
a lure for feeling. For example, some propositions are the data of feelings 
with subjective forms such as to constitute those feelings to be the enjoy- 
ment of a joke. Other propositions are felt with feelings whose subjective 
forms are horror, disgust, or indignation. The 'subjective aim,' which con- 
trols the becoming of a subject, is that subject feeling a proposition with 
the subjective form of purpose to realize it in that process of self-creation. 

(xix) That the fundamental types of entities are actual entities, and 
eternal objects; and that the other types of entities only express how all 
entities of the two fundamental types are in community with each other, 
in the actual world. 

[38] (xx) That to 'function' means to contribute determination to the 
actual entities in the nexus of some actual world. Thus the determinaie- 
ness and self-identity of one entity cannot be abstracted from the com- 
munity of the diverse functionings of all entities. 'Determination' is an- 
alysable into 'definiteness' and 'position,' where 'definiteness't is the illus- 
tration of select eternal objects, and 'position' is relative status in a nexus 
of actual entities. 

(xxi) An entity is actual, when it has significance for itself. By this it is 
meant that an actual entity functions in respect to its own determination. 
Thus an actual entity combines self-identity with self-diversity. 

(xxii) That an actual entity by functioning in respect to itself plays 
diverse roles in self-formation without losing its self-identity. It is self- 
creative: and in its process of creation transforms its diversity of roles into 
one coherent role. Thus 'becoming' is the transformation of incoherence 
into coherence, and in each particular instance ceases with this attainment. 

(xxiii) That this self-functioning is the real internal constitution of an 
actual entity. It is the 'immediacy' of the actual entity. An actual entity 
is called the 'subject' of its own immediacy. 

(xxiv) The functioning of one actual entity in the self-creation of an- 
other actual entity is the 'objectification' of the former for the latter actual 
entity. The functioning of an eternal object in the self-creation of an ac- 
tual entity is the 'ingression' of the eternal object in the actual entity. 

(xxv) The final phase in the process of concrescence, constituting an 

26 The Speculative Scheme 

actual entity, is one complex, fully determinate feeling. This final phase 
is termed the 'satisfaction/ It is fully determinate (a) as to its genesis, 
(b) as to its objective character for the transcendent creativity, and (c) as 
to its prehension— positive or negative— of every item in its universe. 

(xxvi) Each element in the genetic process of an actual [39] entity has 
one self-consistent function, however complex, in the final satisfaction. 

(xxvii) In a process of concrescence, there is a succession of phases in 
which new prehensions arise by integration of prehensions in antecedent 
phases. In these integrations 'feelings' contribute their 'subjective forms 7 
and their 'data' to the formation of novel integral prehensions; but 'nega- 
tive prehensions' contribute only their 'subjective forms/ The process con- 
tinues till all prehensions are components in the one determinate integral 


There are nine Categoreal Obligations: 

(i) The Category of Subjective Unity, The many feelings which belong 
to an incomplete phase in the process of an actual entity, though unin- 
tegrated by reason of the incompleteness of the phase, are compatible for 
integration by reason of the unity of their subject. 

(ii) The Category of Objective Identity. There can be no duplica- 
tion of any element in the objective datum of the 'satisfaction' of an actual 
entity, so far as concerns the function of that element in the 'satisfaction/ 

Here, as always, the term 'satisfaction' means the one complex fully 
determinate feeling which is the completed phase in the process. This 
category expresses that each element has one self-consistent function, how- 
ever complex. Logic is the general analysis of self-consistency. 

(iii) The Category of Objective Diversity. There can be no 'coalescence' 
of diverse elements in the objective datum of an actual entity, so far as 
concerns the functions of those elements in that satisfaction. 

'Coalescence' here means the notion of diverse elements exercising an 
absolute identity of function, devoid of the contrasts inherent in their 

(iv) The Category of Conceptual Valuation. From each physical feel- 
ing there is the derivation of a purely [40] conceptual feeling whose datum 
is the eternal object determinant of the defmiteness of the actual entity, or 
of the nexus, physically felt. 

*(v) The Category of Conceptual Reversion. There is secondary orig- 
ination of conceptual feelings with data which are partially identical with, 
and partially diverse from, the eternal objects forming the data in the first 
phase of the mental pole. The diversity is a relevant diversity determined 
by the subjective aim. 

Note that category (iv) concerns conceptual reproduction of physical 
feeling, and category (v) concerns conceptual diversity from physical 

The Categoreal Scheme 27 

(vi) The Category of Transmutation. When (in accordance with cate- 
gory [iv], or with categories [iv] and [v])t one and the same conceptual 
feeling is derived impartially by a prehending subject from its analogous 
simplet physical feelings of various actual entities in its actual world, then, 
in a subsequent phase of integration of these simple physical feelings to- 
gether with the derivate conceptual feeling, the prehending subject may- 
transmute the datum of this conceptual feeling into a characteristic of 
some nexus containing those prehended actual entities among its mem- 
bers, or of some part of that nexus. In this way the nexus (or its part), 
thus characterized, is the objective datum of a feeling entertained by this 
prehending subject. 

It is evident that the complete datum of the transmuted feeling is a 
contrast, namely ? 'the nexus, as one, in contrast with the eternal object/ 
This type of contrast is one of the meanings of the notion 'qualification 
of physical substance by quality/ 

This category is the way in which the philosophy of organism, which is 
an atomic theory of actuality, meets a perplexity which is inherent in all 
monadic cosmologies. Leibniz in his Monadology meets the same diffi- 
culty by a theory of 'confused' perception. But he fails to make clear how 
'confusion' originates. 

(vii) The Category of Subjective Harmony. The val- [41] uations of con- 
ceptual feelings are mutually determined by the adaptation of those feel- 
ings to be contrasted elements congruent with the subjective aim. 

Category (i) and category (vii) jointly express a pre-established harmony 
in the process of concrescence of any one subject. Category (i) has to do 
with data felt, and category (vii) with the subjective forms of the con- 
ceptual feelings. This pre-established harmony is an outcome of the fact 
that no prehension can be considered in abstraction from its subject, al- 
though it originates in the process creative of its subject. 

(viii) The Category of Subjective Intensity. The subjective aim, whereby 
there is origination of conceptual feeling, is at* intensity of feeling (a) in 
the immediate subject, and (/?) in the relevant future. 

This double aim— at the immediate present and the relevant future- 
is less divided than appears on the surface. For the determination of the 
relevant future, and the anticipatory feeling respecting provision for its 
grade of intensity, are elements affecting the immediate complex of feel- 
ing. The greater part of morality hinges on the determination of relevance 
in the future. The relevant future consists of those elements in the an- 
ticipated future which are felt with effective intensity by the present sub- 
ject by reason of the real potentiality for them to be derived from itself. 

(ix) The Category of Freedom and Determination. The concrescence of 
each individual actual entity is internally determined and is externally 

This category can be condensed into the formula, that in each con- 
crescence whatever is determinable is determined, but that there is always 

28 The Speculative Scheme 

a remainder for the decision of the subject-superject of that concrescence. 
This subject-superject is the universe in that synthesis, and beyond it there 
is nonentity. This final decision is the reaction of the unity of the whole 
to its own internal determination. This reaction is the final modification 
of emotion, appreciation, and purpose. But the decision [42] of the whole 
arises out of the determination of the parts, so as to be strictly relevant 
to it. 


The whole of thet discussion in the subsequent parts either leads up 
to these categories (of the four types) or is explanatory of them, or is 
considering our experience of the world in the light of these categories. 
But a few preliminary notes may be useful. 

It follows from the fourth category of explanation that the notion of 
'complete abstraction' is self-contradictory. For you cannot abstract the 
universe from any entity, actual or non-actual, so as to consider that entity 
in complete isolation. Whenever we think of some entity, we are asking, 
What is it fit for here? In a sense, every entity pervades the whole world; 
for this question has a definite answer for each entity in respect to any 
actual entity or any nexus of actual entities. 

It follows from the first category of explanation that 'becoming' is a 
creative advance into novelty. It is for this reason that the meaning of the 
phrase 'the actual world' is relative to the becoming of a definite actual 
entity which is both novel and actual, relatively to that meaning, and to 
no other meaning of that phrase. Thus, conversely, each actual entity 
corresponds to a meaning of 'the actual world' peculiar to itself. This point 
is dealt with more generally in categories of explanation (iii) and (v). An 
actual world is a nexus; and the actual world of one actual entity sinks 
to the level of a subordinate nexus in actual worlds beyond that actual 

Trie first, the fourth, the eighteenth, and twenty-seventh categories state 
different aspects of one and the same general metaphysical truth. The first 
category states the doctrine in a general way: that every ultimate actuality 
embodies in its own essence what Alexander 3 \43] terms 'a principle of un- 
rest,' namely, its becoming. The fourth category applies this doctrine to the 
very notion of an 'entity.' It asserts that the notion of an 'entity' means 
'an element contributory to the process of becoming.' We have in this 
category the utmost generalization of the notion of 'relativity.' The eigh- 
teenth category asserts that the obligations imposed on the becoming of 
any particular actual entity arise from the constitutions of other actual 

The four categories of explanation, (x) to (xiii), constitute the repudia- 

3 Cf. "Artistic Creation and Cosmic Creation," Proc. Brit. Acad., 1927 \ Vol. 

The Categoreal Scheme 29 

tion of the notion of vacuous actuality, which haunts realistic philosophy. 
The term Vacuous actuality' here means the notion of a res vera devoid of 
subjective immediacy. This repudiation is fundamental for the organic 
philosophy (cf. Part II, Ch. VII, 'The Subjectivist Principle'). The notion 
of Vacuous actuality' is very closely allied to the notion of the 'inherence 
of quality in substance/ Both notions— in their misapplication as funda- 
mental metaphysical categories— find their chief support in a misunder- 
standing of the true analysis of 'presentational immediacy' (cf. Part II, 
Ch. II, Sects. I and V). 

It is fundamental to the metaphysical doctrine of the philosophy of 
organism, that the notion of an actual entity as the unchanging subject 
of change is completely abandoned. An actual entity is at once the subject 
experiencing and the superject of its experiences. It is subject-superject, 
and neither half of this description can for a moment be lost sight of. 
The term 'subject' will be mostly employed when the actual entity is 
considered in respect to its own real internal constitution. But 'subject' 
is always to be construed as an abbreviation of 'subject-super ject.'* 

The ancient doctrine that 'no one crosses the same river twice' is ex- 
tended. No thinker thinks twice; and, to put the matter more generally, no 
subject experiences twice. This is what Locke ought to have meant by his 
doctrine of time as a 'perpetual perishing.' 

[44] This repudiation directly contradicts Kant's 'First Analogy of Expe- 
rience' in either of its ways of phrasing (1st or 2ndt edition). In the phi- 
losophy of organism it is not 'substance' which is permanent, but 'form.' 
Forms suffer changing relations; actual entities 'perpetually perish' sub- 
jectively, but are immortal objectively. Actuality in perishing acquires 
objectivity, while it loses subjective immediacy. It loses the final causation 
which is its internal principle of unrest, and it acquires efficient causation 
whereby it is a ground of obligation characterizing the creativity. 

Actual occasions in their 'formal' constitutions are devoid of all in- 
determination. Potentiality has passed into realization. They are complete 
and determinate matter of fact, devoid of all indecision. They form the 
ground of obligation. But eternal objects, and propositions, and some more 
complex sorts of contrasts, involve in their own natures indecision. They 
are, like all entities, potentials for the process of becoming. Their ingres- 
sion expresses the definiteness of the actuality in question. But their own 
natures do not in themselves disclose in what actual entities this poten- 
tiality of ingression is realized. Thus they involve indetermination in a 
sense more complete than do the former set. 

A multiplicity merely enters into process through its individual mem- 
bers. The only statements to be made about a multiplicity express how 
its individual members enter into the process of the actual world. Any 
entity which enters into process in this way belongs to the multiplicity, and 
no other entities do belong to it. It can be treated as a unity for this pur- 
pose, and this purpose only. For example, each of the six kinds of entities 

30 The Speculative Scheme 

just mentioned is a multiplicity t (i.e., not the individual entities of the 
kinds, but the collective kinds of the entities). A multiplicity has solely 
a disjunctive relationship to the actual world. The 'universe' comprising 
the absolutely initial data for an actual entity is a multiplicity. The treat- 
ment of a multiplicity as though it [45] had the unity belonging to an en- 
tity of any one of the other six kinds produces logical errors. Whenever the 
word 'entity' is used, it is to be assumed, unless otherwise stated, that it 
refers to an entity of one of the six kinds, and not to a multiplicity. 

There is no emergent evolution concerned with a multiplicity, so that 
every statement about a multiplicity is a disjunctive statement about its 
individual members. Entities of any of the first six kinds, and generic con- 
trasts, will be called 'proper entities/ 

In its development the subsequent discussion of the philosophy of or- 
ganism is governed by the belief that the subject-predicate form of propo- 
sition is concerned with high abstractions, except in its application to sub- 
jective forms. This sort of abstraction, apart from this exception, is rarely 
relevant to metaphysical description. The dominance of Aristotelian logic 
from the late classical period onwards has imposed on metaphysical 
thought the categories naturally derivative from its phraseology. This dom- 
inance of his logic does not seem to have been characteristic of Aristotle's 
own metaphysical speculations. The divergencies, such as they are, in these 
lectures from other philosophical doctrines mostly depend upon the fact 
that many philosophers, who in their explicit statements criticize the 
Aristotelian notion of 'substance/ yet implicitly throughout their discus- 
sions presuppose that the 'subject-predicate' form of proposition embodies 
the finally adequate mode of statement about the actual world. The evil 
produced by the Aristotelian 'primary substance' is exactly this habit of 
metaphysical emphasis upon the 'subject-predicate 7 form of proposition. 



[46] The primordial created fact is the unconditioned conceptual valua- 
tion of the entire multiplicity of eternal objects. This is the 'primordial 
nature' of God. By reason of this complete valuation, the objectification of 
God in each derivate actual entity results in a graduation of the relevance 
of eternal objects to the concrescent phases of that derivate occasion. There 
will be additional ground of relevance for select eternal objects by reason 
of their ingression into derivate actual entities belonging to the actual 
world of the concrescent occasion in question. But whether or no this be 
the case, there is always the definite relevance derived from God. Apart 
from God. eternal objects unrealized in the actual world would be rela- 
tively non-existent for the concrescence in question. For effective relevance 
requires agency of comparison, and agency belongs exclusively to actual 
occasions.** This divine ordering is itself matter of fact, thereby condition- 
ing creativity. Thus possibility which transcends realized temporal matter 
of fact has a real relevance to the creative advance. God is the primordial 
creature; but the description of his nature is not exhausted by this concep- 
tual side of it. His 'consequent nature' results from his physical prehen- 
sions of the derivative actual entities (cf. Part V). 

'Creativity' is another rendering of the Aristotelian 'matter/ and of the 
modern 'neutral stuff/ But it is divested of the notion of passive recep- 
tivity, either of 'form/ or of external relations; it is the pure notion of the 
activity conditioned by the objective immortality of [47] the actual world— 
a world which is never the same twice, though always with the stable ele- 
ment of divine ordering. Creativity is without a character of its own in 
exactly the same sense in which the Aristotelian 'matter' is without a char- 
acter of its own. It is that ultimate notion of the highest generality at * 
the base of actuality. It cannot be characterized, because all characters are 
more special than itself. But creativity is always found under conditions, 
and described as conditioned. The non-temporal act of all-inclusive un- 
fettered valuation is at once a creature of creativity and a condition for 
creativity. It shares this double character with all creatures. By reason of 
its character as a creature, always in concrescence and never in the past, it 
receives a reaction from the world; this reaction is its consequent nature. 
It is here termed 'God'; because the contemplation of our natures, as 


32 The Speculative Scheme 

enjoying real feelings derived from the timeless source of all order, acquires 
that 'subjective form' of refreshment and companionship at which reli- 
gions aim. 

This function of creatures, that they constitute the shifting character of 
creativity, is here termed the 'objective immortality' of actual entities. 
Thus God has objective immortality in respect to his primordial nature 
and his consequent nature. The objective immortality of his consequent 
nature is considered later (cf. Part V); we are now concerned with his 
primordial nature. 

God's immanence in the world in respect to his primordial nature is an 
urge towards the future based upon an appetite in the present. Appetition 
is at once the conceptual valuation of an immediate physical feeling com- 
bined with the urge towards realization of the datum conceptually pre- 
hended. For example, t 'thirst* is an immediate physical feeling integrated 
with the conceptual prehension of its quenching. 

Appetition x is immediate matter of fact including in itself a principle of 
unrest, involving realization of what [48] is not and may be. The imme- 
diate occasion thereby conditions creativity so as to procure, in the future, 
physical realization of its mental pole, according to the various valuations 
inherent in its various conceptual prehensions. All physical experience is 
accompanied by an appetite for, or against, its continuance: an example is 
the appetition of self-preservation. But the origination of the novel con- 
ceptual prehension has, more especially, to be accounted for. Thirst is an 
appetite towards a difference— towards something relevant, something 
largely identical, but something with a definite novelty. This is an example 
at a low level which shows the germ of a free imagination. 

In what sense can unrealized abstract form be relevant? What is its basis 
of relevance? 'Relevance' must express some real fact of togetherness 
among forms. The ontological principle can be expressed as: All real to- 
getherness is togetherness in the formal constitution of an actuality. So if 
there be a relevance of what in the temporal world is unrealized, the rele- 
vance must express a fact of togetherness in the formal constitution of a 
non-temporal actuality. But by the principle of relativity there can only be 
one non-derivative actuality, unbounded by its prehensions of an actual 
world. Such a primordial superject of creativity achieves, in its unity of 
satisfaction, the complete conceptual valuation of all eternal objects. This 
is the ultimate, basic adjustment of the togetherness of eternal objects on 
which creative order depends. It is the conceptual adjustment of all ap- 
petites in the form of aversions and adversions. It constitutes the meaning 
of relevance. Its status as an actual efficient fact is recognized by terming 
it the 'primordial nature of God/ 

The word 'appetition' illustrates a danger which lurks in technical terms. 
This same danger is also illustrated in the psychology derived from Freud. 

1 Cf . Leibniz's Monadology. 

Some Derivative Notions 33 

The mental poles of actualities contribute various grades of complex feel- 
ings to the actualities including them as factors. The [49] basic operations 
of mentality are 'conceptual prehensions.' These are the only operations of 
'pure' mentality. All other mental operations are 'impure/ in the sense 
that they involve integrations of conceptual prehensions with the physical 
prehensions of the physical pole. Since 'impurity* in prehension refers to 
the prehension arising out of the integration of 'pure' physical prehensions 
with 'pure' mental prehensions, it follows that an 'impure' t mental pre- 
hension is also an 'impure' physical prehension and conversely. Thus the 
term 'impure' applied to a prehension has a perfectly definite meaning; 
and does not require the terms 'mental' or 'physical/ except for the direc- 
tion of attention in the discussion concerned. 

The technical term 'conceptual prehension' is entirely neutral, devoid 
of all suggestiveness. But such terms present great difficulties to the under- 
standing, by reason of the fact that they suggest no particular exemplifica- 
tions. Accordingly, we seek equivalent terms which have about them the 
suggestiveness of familiar fact. We have chosen the term 'appetition/ 
which suggests exemplifications in our own experience, also in lower forms 
of life such as insects and vegetables. But even in human experience 'ap- 
petition' suggests a degrading notion of this basic activity in its more in- 
tense operations. We are closely concerned with what Bergson calls 'intui- 
tion'— with some differences however. Bergson's 'intuition' t is an 'impure' 
operation; it is an integral feeling derived from the synthesis of the con- 
ceptual prehension with the physical prehension from which it has been 
derived according to the 'Category of Conceptual Reproduction' (Cate- 
goreal Obligation! IV). It seems that Bergson's term 'intuition' has the 
same meaning as 'physical purpose' in Part III of these lectures. Also 
Bergson's 'intuition' seems to abstract from the subjective form of emotion 
and purpose. This subjective form is an essential element in the notion of 
'conceptual prehension,' as indeed in that of any prehension. It is an essen- 
tial element in 'physical purpose' (cf. Part III), If we con- [SO] sider these 
'pure' mental operations in their most intense operations, we should choose 
the term 'vision.' A conceptual prehension is a direct vision of some possi- 
bility of good or oft evil— of some possibility as to how actualities may be 
definite. There is no reference to particular actualities, or to any par- 
ticular actual world. The phrase 'of good or of evil' has been added to in- 
clude a reference to the subjective form; the mere word 'vision' abstracts 
from this factor in a conceptual prehension. If we say that God's primor- 
dial nature is a completeness of 'appetition,' f we give due weight to the 
subjective form— at a cost. If we say that God's primordial nature is 'in- 
tuition/ we suggest mentality which is 'impure' by reason of synthesis with 
physical prehension. If we say that God's primordial nature is 'vision,' we 
suggest a maimed view of the subjective form, divesting it of yearning 
after concrete fact— no particular facts, but after some actuality. There is 
deficiency in God's primordial nature which the term 'vision' obscures. 

34 The Speculative Scheme 

One advantage of the term Vision' is that it connects this doctrine of God 
more closely with philosophical tradition. 'Envisagement' is perhaps a safer 
term than Vision/ To sum up: God's primordial nature' is abstracted from 
his commerce with 'particulars/ and is therefore devoid of those 'impure' 
intellectual cogitations which involve propositions (cf. Part III). It is God 
in abstraction, alone with himself. As such it is a mere factor in God, de- 
ficient in actuality. 


The notions of 'social order' and of 'personal order' cannot be omitted 
from this preliminary sketch. A 'society/ in the sense in which that term 
is here used, is a nexus with social order; and an 'enduring object/ or 'en- 
during creature/ is a society whose social order has taken the special form 
of 'personal order.' 

A nexus enjoys 'social order' where (i) there is a common element of 
form illustrated in the definiteness [Si] of each of its included actual en- 
tities, and (ii) this common element of form arises in each member of the 
nexus by reason of the conditions imposed upon it by its prehensions of 
some other members of the nexus, and (iii) these prehensions impose that 
condition of reproduction by reason of their inclusion of positive feelings 
of that* common form. Such a nexus is called a 'society/ and the common 
form is the 'defining characteristic' of the society. The notion f of 'defining 
characteristic' is allied to the Aristotelian notion oft 'substantial form/ 

The common element of form is simply a complex eternal object ex- 
emplified in each member of the nexus. But the social order of the nexus 
is not the mere fact of this common form exhibited by all its members. The 
reproduction of the common form throughout the nexus is due to the 
genetic relations of the members of the nexus among each other, and to 
the additional fact that genetic relations include feelings of the common 
form. Thus the defining characteristic is inherited throughout the nexus, 
each member deriving it from those other members of the nexus which 
are antecedent to its own concrescence. 

A nexus enjoys 'personal order' when (a) it is a 'society/ and (/?) when 
the genetic relatedness of its members orders these members 'serially/ 

By this 'serial ordering' arising from the genetic relatedness, it is meant 
that any member of the nexus— excluding the first and the last, if there be 
such— constitutes a 'cut' in the nexus, so that (a) this member inherits 
from all members on one side of the cut, and from no members on the 
other side of the cut, and (b) if A and B are two members of the nexus 
and B inherits from A, then the side of B's+ cut, inheriting from B, forms 
part of the side of A's cut, inheriting from A, and the side of A's cut from 
which A inherits forms part of the side of B's cut from which B inherits. 
Thus the nexus forms a single line of inheritance of its defining character- 
istic. Such a nexus is called an 'enduring object/ It might have been 

Some Derivative Notions 35 

termed a 'person/ in the legal sense [52] of that term. But unfortunately 
'person' suggests the notion of consciousness, so that its use would lead to 
misunderstanding. The nexus 'sustains a character/ and this is one of the 
meanings of the Latin word persona. But an 'enduring object/ qua 'per- 
son/ does more than sustain a character. For this sustenance arises out of 
the special genetic relations among the members of the nexus. An ordinary 
physical object, which has temporal endurance, is a society. In the ideally 
simple case, it has personal order and is an 'enduring object. 7 A society may 
(or may not) be analysable into many strands of 'enduring objects/ This 
will be the case for most ordinary physical objects. These enduring objects 
and 'societies/ analysable into strands of enduring objects, are the per- 
manent entities which enjoy adventures of change throughout time and 
space. For example, they form the subject-matter of the science of dy- 
namics. Actual entities perish, but do not change; they are what they are. 
A nexus which (i) enjoys social order, and (ii) is analysable into strands 
of enduring objects may be termed a 'corpuscular society/ A society may 
be more or less corpuscular, according to the relative importance of the 
defining characteristics of the various enduring objects compared to that 
of the defining characteristic of the whole corpuscular nexus. 


There is a prevalent misconception that 'becoming' involves the notion 
of a unique seriality for its advance into novelty. This is the classic notion 
of 'time/ which philosophy took over from common sense. Mankind made 
an unfortunate generalization from its experience of enduring objects. Re- 
cently physical science has abandoned this notion. Accordingly we should 
now purge cosmology of a point of view which it ought never to have 
adopted as an ultimate metaphysical principle. In these lectures the term 
'creative advance' is not to be construed in the sense of a uniquely serial 

[S3] Finally, the extensive continuity of the physical universe has usually 
been construed to mean that there is a continuity of becoming. But if we 
admit that 'something becomes/ it is easy, by employing Zeno's method, to 
prove that there can be no continuity of becoming. 2 There is a becoming 
of continuity, but no continuity of becoming. The actual occasions are the 
creatures which become, and they constitute a continuously extensive 
world. In other words, extensiveness becomes, but 'becoming' is not itself 

Thus the ultimate metaphysical truth is atomism. The creatures are 
atomic. In the present cosmic epoch there is a creation of continuity. Per- 
haps such creation is an ultimate metaphysical truth holding of all cosmic 

2 Cf. Part II, Ch. II, Sect. II; and also my Science and the Modern World, 
Ch. VII, for a discussion of this argument. 

36 The Speculative Scheme 

epochs; but this does not* seem to be a necessary conclusion. The more 
likely opinion is that extensive continuity is a special condition arising 
from the society of creatures which constitute our immediate epoch. But 
atomism does not exclude complexityt and universal relativity. Each atom 
is a system of all things. 

The proper balance between atomism and continuity is of importance to 
physical science. For example, the doctrine, here explained, conciliates 
Newton's corpuscular theory of light with the wave theory. For both a 
corpuscle, and an advancing element of at wave front, are merely a per- 
manent form propagated from atomic creature to atomic creature. A cor- 
puscle is in fact an 'enduring object.' The notion of an 'enduring object' 
is, however, capable of more or less completeness of realization. Thus, in 
different stages of its career, a wave of light may be more or less corpuscu- 
lar. A train of such waves at all stages of its career involves social order; 
but in the earlier stages this social order takes the more special form of 
loosely related strands of personal order. This dominant personal order 
gradually vanishes as the time advances. Its defining characteristics become 
less and [54] less important, as their various features peter out. The waves 
then become a nexus with important social order, but with no strands of 
personal order. Thus the train of waves starts as a corpuscular society, and 
ends as a society which is not corpuscular. 


Finally, in the cdsmological scheme here outlined one implicit assump- 
tion of the philosophical tradition is repudiated. The assumption is that 
the basic elements of experience are to be described in terms of one, or 
all, of the three ingredients, consciousness, thought, sense-perception. The 
last term is used in the sense of 'conscious perception in the mode of pre- 
sentational immediacy/ Also in practice sense-perception is narrowed 
down to visual perception. According to the philosophy of organism these 
three components are unessential elements in experience, either physical 
or mental. Any instance of experience is dipolar, whether that instance 
be God or an actual occasion of the world. The origination of God is from 
the mental pole, the origination of an actual occasion is from the physical 
pole; but in either case these elements, consciousness, thought, sense-per- 
ception, belong to the derivative 'impure 7 phases of the concrescence, if in 
any effective sense they enter at all. 

This repudiation is the reason why, in relation to the topic under discus- 
sion, the status of presentational immediacy is a recurrent theme through- 
out the subsequent Partst of these lectures. 




[62] All human discourse which bases its claim to consideration on the 
truth of its statements must appeal to the facts. In none of its branches 
can philosophy claim immunity to this rule. But in the case of philosophy 
the difficulty arises that the record of the facts is in part dispersed vaguely 
through the various linguistic expressions of civilized language and of 
literature, and is in part expressed more precisely under the influence of 
schemes of thought prevalent in the traditions of science and philosophy. 

In this second part of these lectures, the scheme of [63] thought which is 
the basis of the philosophy of organism is confronted with various interpre- 
tations of the facts widely accepted in thet European tradition, literary, 
philosophic, and scientific. So far as concerns philosophy only a selected 
group can be explicitly mentioned. There is no point in endeavouring to 
force the interpretations of divergent philosophers into a vague agreement. 
What is important is that the scheme of interpretation here adopted can 
claim for each of its main positions the express authority of one, or the 
other, of some supreme master of thought—Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, 
Locke, Hume, Kant. But ultimately nothing rests on authority; the final 
court of appeal is intrinsic reasonableness. 

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradi- 
tion is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the 
systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted 
from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through 
them. His personal endowments, his wide opportunities for experience at 
a great period of civilization, his inheritance of an intellectual tradition 
not yet stiffened by excessive systematization, have made his writings t an 
inexhaustible mine of suggestion. Thus in one sense by stating my belief 
that the train of thought in these lectures is Platonic, I am doing no more 
than expressing the hope that it falls within the European tradition. But I 
do mean more: I mean that if we had to render Plato's general point of 
view with the least changes made necessary by the intervening two thou- 
sand years of human experience in social organization, in aesthetic attain- 
ments, in science, and in religion, we should have to set about the con- 
struction of a philosophy of organism. In such a philosophy the actualities 
constituting the process of the world are conceived as exemplifying the 


40 Discussions and Applications 

ingression (or 'participation') of other things which constitute the poten- 
tialities of definiteness for any actual existence. The things which are tem- 
poral arise by their participation in the things which are eternal. The 
[64] two sets are mediated by a thing which combines the actuality of what 
is temporal with the timelessness of what is potential. This final entity is 
the divine element in the world, by which the barren inefficient disjunction 
of abstract potentialities obtains primordially the efficient conjunction of 
ideal realization. This ideal realization of potentialities in a primordial 
actual entity constitutes the metaphysical stability whereby the actual 
process exemplifies general principles of metaphysics, and attains the ends 
proper to specific types of emergent order. By reason of the actuality of this 
primordial valuation of pure potentials, each eternal object has a definite, 
effective relevance to each concrescent process. Apart from such orderings,** 
there would be a complete disjunction of eternal objects unrealized in the 
temporal world. Novelty would be meaningless, and inconceivable. We are 
here extending and rigidly applying Hume's principle, that ideas of reflec- 
tion are derived from actual facts. 

By this recognition of the divine element the general Aristotelian princi- 
ple is maintained that, apart from things that are actual, there is nothing 
—nothing either in fact or in efficacy. This is the true general principle 
which also underlies Descartes' dictum: "For this reason, when we per- 
ceive any attribute, we therefore conclude that some existing thing or 
substance to which it may be attributed, is necessarily present." *■ And 
again: "for every clear and distinct conception (perceptio) is without 
doubt something, and hence cannot derive its origin from what is 
nought, . . ." 2 This general principle will be termed the 'ontological prin- 
ciple. 7 It is the principle that everything is positively somewhere in ac- 
tuality, and in potency everywhere. In one of its applications this principle 
issues in the doctrine of 'conceptualising Thus [65] the search for a reason 
is always the search for an actual fact which is the vehicle of the reason. The 
ontological principle, as here defined, constitutes the first step in the de- 
scription of the universe as a solidarity 3 of many actual entities. Each 
actual entity is conceived as an act of experience arising out of data. It is 
a process of 'feeling' the many data, so as to absorb them into the unity of 
one individual 'satisfaction/ Here 'feeling' is the term used for the basic 
generic operation of passing from the objectivity of the data to the sub- 
jectivity of the actual entity in question. Feelings are variously specialized 

1 Principles of Philosophy, Part I, 52; translation by Haldane and Ross. All 
quotations from Descartes are from this translation.* 

2 Meditation IV, towards the end. 

3 The word 'solidarity' has been borrowed from Professor Wildon Carr's Presi- 
dential Address to the Aristotelian Society, Session 1917-1918. The address — 
'The Interaction of Body and Mind" — develops the fundamental principle sug- 
gested by this word. 

Fact and Form 41 

operations, effecting a transition into subjectivity. They replace the 'neu- 
tral stuff' of certain realistic philosophers. An actual entity is a process, 
and is not describable in terms of the morphology of a 'stuff/ This use of 
the term 'feeling' has a close analogy to Alexander's 4 use of the term 
'enjoyment'; and has also some kinship with Bergson's use of the term 
'intuition; A near analogy is Locke's use of the term 'idea/ including 'ideas 
of particular things' (cf. his Essay, III, III, 2, 6, and 7). But the word 
'feeling/ as used in these lectures, is even more reminiscent of Descartes. 
For example: "Let it be so; still it is at least quite certain that it seems to 
me that I see light, that I hear noise and that I feel heat. That cannot be 
false; properly speaking it is what is in me called feeling (sentire); and 
used in this precise sense that is no other thing than thinking." 5 

In Cartesian language, the essence of an actual entity consists solely in 
the fact that it is a prehending thing (i.e., a substance whose whole essence 
or nature is to prehend). 6 A 'feeling' belongs to the positive species [66] of 
'prehensions.' There are two species of prehensions, the 'positive species' and 
the 'negative species.' An actual entity has a perfectly definite bond with 
each item in the universe. This determinate bond is its prehension of that 
item. A negative prehension is the definite exclusion of that item from 
positive contribution to the subject's own real internal constitution. This 
doctrine involves the position that a negative prehension expresses a 
bond. A positive prehension is the definite inclusion of that item into posi- 
tive contribution to the subject's own real internal constitution. This 
positive inclusion is called its 'feeling' of that item. Other entities are re- 
quired to express how any one item is felt. All actual entities in the actual 
world, relatively to a given actual entity as 'subject,' are necessarily 'felt' 
by that subject, though in general vaguely. An actual entity as felt is said 
to be 'objectified' for that subject. Only a selection of eternal objects are 
'felt' by a given subject, and these eternal objects are then said to have 
'ingression' in that subject. But those eternal objects which are not felt are 
not therefore negligible. For each negative prehension has its own sub- 
jective form, however trivial and faint. It adds to the emotional complex, 
though not to the objective data. The emotional complex is the subjective 
form of the final 'satisfaction.' The importance of negative prehensions 
arises from the fact, that (i) actual entities form a system, in the sense of 
entering into each other's constitutions, (ii) that by the ontological 
principle every entity is felt by some actual entity, (iii) that, as a conse- 
quence of (i) and (ii), every entity in the actual world of a concrescent 
actuality has some gradation of real relevance to that concrescence, (iv) 
that, in consequence of (iii), the negative prehension of an entity is a 

4 Cf. his Space, Time and Deity, passim. 

5 Meditation II, Haldane and Ross translation. 

6 For the analogue to this sentence cf. Meditation VI; substitute 'Ens pre- 
hendens" fort 'Ens cogitans. 7 

42 Discussions and Applications 

positive fact with its emotional subjective form,t (v) there is a mutual 
sensitivity of the subjective forms of prehensions, so that they are not in- 
different to each other, (vi) the concrescence issues in one concrete feel- 
ing, the satisfaction. 


[67] That we fail to find in experience any elements intrinsically incapa- 
ble of exhibition as examples of general theoryt is the hope of rationalism. 
This hope is not a metaphysical premise. It is the faith which forms the 
motive for the pursuit of all sciences alike, including metaphysics. 

In so far as metaphysics enables us to apprehend the rationality of 
things, the claim is justified. It is always open to us, having regard to the 
imperfections of all metaphysical systems, to lose hope at the exact point 
where we find ourselves. The preservation of such faith must depend on an 
ultimate moral intuition into the nature of intellectual action— that it 
should embody the adventure of hope. Such an intuition marks the point 
where metaphysics— and indeed every science— gains assurance from reli- 
gion and passes over into religion. But in itself the faith does not embody a 
premise from which the theory starts: it is an ideal which is seeking satis- 
faction. In so far as we believe that doctrine, we are rationalists. 

There must, however, be limits to the claim that all the elements in 
the universe are explicable by 'theory/ For 'theory' itself requires that there 
be given' elements so as to form the material for theorizing. Plato himself 
recognizes this limitation: I quote from Professor A. E. Taylor's summary 
of the Timaeus: 

In the real world there is always, over and above "law," a factor of 
the "simply given" or "brute fact," not accounted for and to be ac- 
cepted simply as given. It is the business of science never to acquiesce 
in the merely given, to seek to "explain" it as the consequence, in virtue 
of rational law, of some simpler initial "given." But, however far sci- 
ence may carry this procedure, it is always forced to retain some ele- 
ment of brute fact, the merely given, in its account of things. It is the 
presence in nature of this element of the given, this surd or irrational 
as it has [68] sometimes been called, which Timaeus appears to be per- 
sonifying in his language about Necessity. 7 

So far as the interpretation of Plato is concerned, I rely upon the au- 
thority of Professor Taylor. But, apart from this historical question, a clear 
understanding of the 'given' elements in the world is essential for any form 
of Platonic realism. 

For rationalistic thought, the notion of 'givenness' carries with it a 
reference beyond the mere data in question. It refers to a 'decision' 
whereby what is 'given' is separated off from what for that occasion is 'not 

7 Plato, The Man and His Work, Lincoln MacVeagh, New York, 1927.* 

Fact and Form 43 

given/ This element of 'givenness' in things implies some activity pro- 
curing limitation. The word 'decision' does not here imply conscious judg- 
ment, though in some 'decisions' consciousness will be a factor. The word 
is used in its root sense of a 'cutting off/ The ontological principle declares 
that every decision is referable to one or more actual entities, because in 
separation from actual entities there is nothing, merely nonentity— 'The 
rest is silence/ 

The ontological principle asserts the relativity of decision; whereby every 
decision expresses the relation of the actual thing, for which a decision is 
made, to an actual thing by which that decision is made. But 'decision' 
cannot be construed as a casual adjunct of an actual entity. It constitutes 
the very meaning of actuality. An actual entity arises from decisions for it, 
and by its very existence provides decisions for other actual entities which 
supersede it. Thus the ontological principle is the first stage in constituting 
a theory embracing the notions of 'actual entity/ 'givenness,' and 'process/ 
Just as 'potentiality for process' is the meaning of the more general term 
'entity/ or 'thing; so 'decision' is the additional meaning imported by the 
word 'actual' into the phrase 'actual entity/ 'Actuality' is the decision 
amid 'potentiality/ It represents stubborn fact which cannot be evaded. 
The real internal constitution of an actual [69] entity progressively consti- 
tutes a decision conditioning the creativity which transcends that actuality. 
The Castle Rock at Edinburgh exists from moment to moment, and from 
century to century, by reason of the decision** effected by its own historic 
route of antecedent occasions. And if, in some vast upheaval of nature, it 
were shattered into fragments, that convulsion would still be conditioned 
by the fact that it was the destruction of that rock. The point to be empha- 
sized is the insistent particularity of things experienced and of the act of 
experiencing. Bradley's doctrine 8 — Wolf-eating-Lamb as a universal quali- 
fying the absolute— is a travesty of the evidence. That wolf eat* that lamb 
at that spot at that time: the wolf knew it; the lamb knew it; and the 
carrion birds knew it. Explicitly in the verbal sentence, or implicitly in the 
understanding of the subject entertaining it, every expression of a proposi- 
tion includes demonstrative elements. In fact each word, and each sym- 
bolic phrase, is such an element, exciting the conscious prehension of some 
entity belonging to one of the categories of existence. 


Converselv. where there is no decision involving exclusion, there is no 
givenness. For example, the total multiplicity of Platonic forms is not 
'given/ But in respect of each actual entity, there is givenness of such 
forms . The determinate definiteness of each actuality is an expression of a 
selection from these forms. It grades them in a diversity of relevance. This 

8 Cf. Logic, Bk. I, Ch. II, Sect. 42. 

44 Discussions and Applications 

ordering of relevance starts from those forms which are, in the fullest 
sense, exemplified, and passes through grades of relevance down to those 
forms which in some faint sense are proximately relevant by reason of 
contrast with actual fact. This whole gamut of relevance is 'given/ and 
must be referred to the decision of actuality. 

The term 'Platonic form' has here been used as the [70] briefest way of 
indicating the entities in question. But these lectures are not an exegesis of 
Plato's writings; the entities in question are not necessarily restricted to 
those which he would recognize as 'forms/ Also the term 'idea' has a sub- 
jective suggestion in modern philosophy, which is very misleading for my 
present purposes; and in any case it has been used in many senses and has 
become ambiguous. The term 'essence/ as used by the Critical Realists, 
also suggests their use of it, which diverges from what I intend. Accord- 
ingly, by way of employing a term devoid of misleading suggestions, I use 
the phrase 'eternal object' for what in the preceding paragraph of this 
section I have termed a 'Platonic form/ Any entity whose conceptual rec- 
ognition does not involve a necessary reference to any definite actual en- 
tities of the temporal world is called an 'eternal object/ 

In this definition the 'conceptual recognition' must of course be an 
operation constituting a real feeling belonging to some actual entity. The 
point is that the actual subject which is merely conceiving the eternal ob- 
ject is not thereby in direct relationship to some other actual entity, apart 
from any other peculiarity in the composition of that conceiving subject. 
This doctrine applies also to thef primordial nature of God, which is his 
complete envisagement of eternal objects; he+ is not thereby directly related 
to the given course of history. The given course of history presupposes his 
primordial nature, but his primordial nature does not presuppose it. 

An eternal object is always a potentiality for actual entities; but in itself, 
as conceptually felt, it is neutral as to the fact of its physical ingression in 
any particular actual entity of the temporal world. 'Potentiality' is the cor- 
relative of 'givenness/ The meaning of 'givenness' is that what is 'given' 
* might not have been 'given'; and that what is not 'given' might have been 

Further, in the complete particular 'givenness' for an actual entity there 
is an element of exclusiveness. The [71] various primary data and the con- 
crescent feelings do not form a mere multiplicity. Their synthesis in the 
final unity of one actual entity is another fact of 'givenness.' The actual en- 
tity terminates its becoming in one complex feeling involving a completely 
determinate bond with every item in the universe, the bond being either a* 
positive or a negative prehension. This termination is the 'satisfaction' of 
the actual entity. Thus the addition of another component alters this 
synthetic 'givenness.' Any additional component is therefore contrary to 
this integral 'givenness' of the original. This principle may be illustrated by 
our visual perception of a picture. The pattern of colours is 'given' for us. 

Fact and Form 45 

But an extra patch of red does not constitute a mere addition; it alters the 
whole balance. Thus in an actual entity the balanced unity of the total 
'givenness' excludes anything that is not given. 

This is the doctrine of the emergent unity of the superject. An actual 
entity is to be conceived both as a subject presiding over its own immediacy 
of becoming, and a superject which is the atomic creature exercising its 
function of objective immortality. It has become a 'being'; and it belongs to 
the nature of every 'being' that it is a potential for every 'becoming.' 

This doctrine, that the final 'satisfaction' of an actual entity is intolerant 
of any addition, expresses the fact that every actual entity— since it is 
what it is— is finally its own reason for what it omits. In the real internal 
constitution of an actual entity there is always some element which is con- 
trary to an omitted element. Here 'contrary' means the impossibility of 
joint entry in the same sense. In other words, indetermination has evap- 
orated from 'satisfaction/ so that there is a complete determination of 
'feeling/ or of 'negation of feeling/ respecting the universe. This evapora- 
tion of indetermination is merely another way of considering the process 
whereby the actual entity arises from its data. Thus, in another sense, each 
actual entity includes the uni- \72] verse, by reason of its determinate atti- 
tude towards every element in the universe. 

Thus the process of becoming is dipolar, (i) by reason of its qualification 
by the determinateness of the actual world, and (ii) by its conceptual pre- 
hensions of the indeterminateness of eternal objects. The process is con- 
stituted by the influx of eternal objects into a novel determinateness of 
feeling which absorbs the actual world into a novel actuality. 

The 'formal' constitution of an actual entity is a process of transition 
from indetermination towards terminal determination. But the indetermi- 
nation is referent to determinate data. The 'objective 7 constitution of an* 
actual entity is its terminal determination, considered as a complex of com- 
ponent determinates by reason of which the actual entity is a datum for 
the creative advance. The actual entity on its physical side is composed of 
its determinate feelings of its actual world, and on its mental side is 
originated by its conceptual appetitions. 

Returning to the correlation of 'givenness' and 'potentiality/ we see that 
'givenness' refers to 'potentiality/ and 'potentiality' to 'givenness'; also we 
see that the completion of 'givenness' in actual fact converts the 'not-given' 
for that fact into 'impossibility' for that fact. The individuality of an actual 
entity involves an exclusive limitation. This element of 'exclusive limita- 
tion' is the definiteness essential for the synthetic unity of an actual entity. 
This synthetic unity forbids the notion of mere addition to the included 

It is evident that 'givenness' and 'potentiality' are both meaningless apart 
from a multiplicity of potential entities. These potentialities are the 
'eternal objects.' Apart from 'potentiality' and 'givenness/ there can be no 

46 Discussions and Applications 

nexus of actual things in process of supersession by novel actual things. 
The alternative is a static monistic universe, without unrealized poten- 
tialities; since 'potentiality* is then a meaningless term. 

[73] The scope of the ontological principle is not exhausted by the corol- 
lary that 'decision 7 must be referable to an actual entity. Everything must 
be somewhere; and here "somewhere' means 'some actual entity/ Accord- 
ingly the general potentiality of the universe must be somewhere; since it 
retains its proximate relevance to actual entities for which it is unrealized. 
This 'proximate relevance' reappears in subsequent concrescence as final 
causation regulative of the emergence of novelty. This 'somewhere' is the 
non- temporal actual entity. Thus 'proximate relevance' means 'relevance 
as in the primordial mind of God.'t 

It is a contradiction in terms to assume that some explanatory fact can 
float into the actual world out of nonentity. Nonentity is nothingness. 
Every explanatory fact refers to the decision and to the efficacy* of an 
actual thing. The notion of 'subsistence' is merely the notion of how eternal 
objects can be components of the primordial nature of God. This is a 
question for subsequent discussion (cf. Part V). But eternal objects, as in 
God's primordial nature, constitute the Platonic world of ideas. 

There is not, however, one entity which is merely the class of all eternal 
objects. For if we conceive any class of eternal objects, there are additional 
eternal objects which presuppose that class but do not belong to it. For this 
reason, at the beginning of this section, the phrase 'the multiplicity of 
Platonic forms' was used, instead of the more natural phrase 'thet class of 
Platonic forms.' A multiplicity is a type of complex thing which has the 
unity derivative from some qualification which participates in each of its 
components severally; but a multiplicity has no unity derivative merely 
from its various components. 


The doctrine just stated— that every explanatory fact refers to the deci- 
sion and to the efficacy of an actual [74} thing— requires discussion in ref- 
erence to the ninth Categoreal Obligation. This category states that 'The 
concrescence of each individual actual entity is internally determined and 
is externally free.' 

The peculiarity of the course of history illustrates the joint relevance of 
the 'ontological principle' and of this categoreal obligation. The evolution 
of history can be rationalized by the consideration of the determination 
of successors by antecedents. But, on the other hand, the evolution of his- 
tory is incapable of rationalization because it exhibits a selected flux of 
participating forms. No reason, internal to history, can be assigned why 
that flux of forms, rather than another flux, should have been illustrated. 
It is true that any flux must exhibit the character of internal determina- 
tion. So much follows from the ontological principle. But every instance of 

Fact and Form 47 

internal determination assumes that flux up to that point. There is no 
reason why there could be no alternative flux exhibiting that principle of 
internal determination. The actual flux presents itself with the character 
of being merely 'given. 7 It does not disclose any peculiar character of 'per- 
fection. 7 On the contrary, the imperfection of the world is the theme of 
every religion which offers a way of escape, and of every sceptic who de- 
plores the prevailing superstition. The Leibnizian theory of the 'best of 
possible worlds 7 is an audacious fudge produced in order to save the face 
of a Creator constructed by contemporary, and antecedent, theologians. 
Further, in the case of those actualities whose immediate experience is 
most completely open to us, namely, human beings, the final decision of 
the immediate subject-superject, constituting the ultimate modification of 
subjective aim, is the foundation of our experience of responsibility, of ap- 
probation or of disapprobation, of self-approval or of self-reproach, of free- 
dom, of emphasis. This element in experience is too large to be put aside 
merely as misconstruction. It governs the whole tone of human life. It can 
be illustrated+ by striking [75] instances from fact or from fiction. But 
these instances are only conspicuous illustrations of human experience 
during each hour and each minute. The ultimate freedom of things, lying 
beyond all determinations, was whispered by Galileo— E pur si muove— 
freedom for the inquisitors to think wrongly, for Galileo to think rightly, 
and for the world to move in despite of Galileo and inquisitors. 

The doctrine of the philosophy of organism is that, however far the 
sphere of efficient causation be pushed in the determination of components 
of a concrescence— its data, its emotions, its appreciations, its purposes, its 
phases of subjective aim— beyond the determination of these components 
there always remains the final reaction of the self-creative unity of the 
universe. This final reaction completes the self-creative act by putting the 
decisive stamp of creative emphasis upon the determinations of efficient 
cause. Each occasion exhibits its measure of creative emphasis in propor- 
tion to its measure of subjective intensity. The absolute standard of such 
intensity is that of the primordial nature of God, which is neither great 
nor small because it arises out of no actual world. It has within it no com- 
ponents which are standards of comparison. But in the temporal world for 
occasions of relatively slight experient intensity, their decisions of creative 
emphasis are individually negligible compared to the determined com- 
ponents which they receive and transmit. But the final accumulation of all 
such decisions— the decision of God's nature and the decisions of all occa- 
sions—constitutes that special element in the flux of forms in history, which 
is given 7 and incapable of rationalization beyond the fact that within it 
every component which is determinable is internally determined. 

The doctrine is, that each concrescence is to be referred to a definite free 
initiation and a definite free conclusion. The initial fact is macrocosmic, in 
the sense of having equal relevance to all occasions; the final fact is micro- 

48 Discussions and Applications 

[76] cosmic, in the sense of being peculiar to that occasion. Neither fact is 
capable of rationalization, in the sense of tracing the antecedents which 
determine it. The initial fact is the primordial appetition, and the final fact 
is the decision of emphasis, finally creative of the 'satisfaction/ 


The antithetical terms 'universals 7 and 'particulars' are the usual words 
employed to denote respectively entities which nearly, though not quite, 9 
correspond to the entities here termed 'eternal objects/ and 'actual en- 
tities. 7 These terms, 'universals 7 and 'particulars/ both in the suggestive- 
ness of the two words and in their current philosophical use, are somewhat 
misleading. The ontological principle, and the wider doctrine of universal 
relativity, on which the present metaphysical discussion is founded, blur 
the sharp distinction between what is universal and what is particular. The 
notion of a universal is of that which can enter into the description of many 
particulars; whereas the notion of a particular is that it is described by uni- 
versal, and does not itself enter into the description of any other particu- 
lar. According to the doctrine of relativity which is the basis of the meta- 
physical system of the present lectures, both these notions involve a mis- 
conception. An actual entity cannot be described, even inadequately, by 
universals; because other actual entities do enter into the description of 
any one actual entity. Thus every so-called 'universal 7 is particular in the 
sense of being just what it is, diverse from everything else; and every so- 
called 'particular 7 is universal in the sense of entering into the constitu- 
tions of other actual entities. The contrary opinion led to the collapse of 
Descartes 7 many substances into Spinoza's one substance; to Leibniz's 
windowless monads with their pre-established harmony; to the sceptical 
reduction of Hume's philosophy— a reduction first effected by Hume him- 
self, \77] and reissued with the most beautiful exposition by Santayana in 
his Scepticism and Animal Faith. 

The point is that the current view of universals and particulars inevitably 
leads to the epistemological position stated by Descartes: 

From this I should conclude that I knew the wax by means of vision 
and not simply by the intuition of the mind; unless by chance I re- 
member that, when looking from a window and saying I see men who 
pass in the street, I really do not see them, but infer that what I see 
is men, just as I say that I see wax. And yet what do I see from the 
window but hats and coats which may cover automatic machines? 
Yet I judge these to be men. And similarly solely by the faculty of 
judgment [judicandi] which rests in my mind, I comprehend that 
which I believed I saw with my eyes. 10 

9 For example, prehensions and subjective forms are also 'particulars.' 

10 Meditation II. 

Fact and Form 49 

In this passage it is assumed 1X that Descartes— the Ego in question— is a 
particular, characterized only by universals. Thus his impressions— to use 
Hume's word— are characterizations by universals. Thus there is no percep- 
tion of a particular actual entity. He arrives at the belief in the actual 
entity by 'the faculty of judgment. 7 But on this theory he has absolutely 
no analogy upon which to found any such inference with the faintest 
shred of probability. Hume, accepting Descartes' account of perception (in 
this passage), which also belongs to Locke in some sections of his Essay ; 
easily draws the sceptical conclusion. Santayana irrefutably exposes the 
full extent to which this scepticism must be carried. The philosophy of 
organism recurs to Descartes 7 alternative theory of 'realties objectiva,' and 
endeavours to interpret it in terms of a consistent ontology. Descartes en- 
deavoured to combine the two theories; but his unquestioned acceptance 
of the subject-predicate dogma forced him [78] into a representative theory 
of perception, involving a 'judicium 7 validated by our assurance of the 
power and the goodness of God. The philosophy of organism in its account 
of prehension takes its stand upon the Cartesian terms 'realitas objectiva, 7 
'inspection and Hntuitio. 7 The two latter terms are transformed into the 
notion of a 'positive prehension, 7 and into operations described in the 
various categories of physical and conceptual origination. A recurrence to 
the notion of 'God 7 is still necessary to mediate between physical and con- 
ceptual prehensions, but not in the crude form of giving a limited letter 
of credit to a 'judicium.' 

Hume, in effect, agrees that 'mind 7 is a process of concrescence arising 
from primary data. In his account, these data are 'impressions of sensa- 
tion 7 ; and in such impressions no elements other than universals are dis- 
coverable. For the philosophy of organism, the primary data are always 
actual entities absorbed into feeling in virtue of certain universals shared 
alike by the objectified actuality and the experient subject (cf. Part III). 
Descartes takes an intermediate position. He explains perception in Hu- 
mian terms, but adds an apprehension of particular actual entities in virtue 
of an Hnspectio 7 and a 'judicium 7 effected by the mind (Meditations II and 
IJJ).t Here he is paving the way for Kant, and for the degradation of the 
world into 'mere appearance.' 

AH modern philosophy hinges round the difficulty of describing the 
world in terms of subject and predicate, substance and quality, particular 
and universal. The result always does violence to that immediate experi- 
ence which we express in our actions, our hopes, our sympathies, our pur- 
poses, and which we enjoy in spite of our lack of phrases for its verbal 

11 Perhaps inconsistently with what Descartes says elsewhere: in other passages 
the mental activity involved seems to be analysis which discovers 'realitas ob- 
jectiva 7 as a component element of the idea in question. There is thus Hnspectio' 
rather than 'judicium. 7 

50 Discussions and Applications 

analysis. We find ourselves in a buzzing 12 world, amid a democracy of 
fellow creatures; whereas, under some disguise or other orthodox philoso- 
phy can only introduce us to solitary substances, each enjoying an illusory 
experience: "O Bottom, thou [79] art changed! what do I see on thee?' 7 * 
The endeavour to interpret experience in accordance with the overpowering 
deliverance of common senset must bring us back to some restatement of 
Platonic realism, modified so as to avoid the pitfalls which the philosophi- 
cal investigations of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have dis- 

The true point of divergence is the false notion suggested by the contrast 
between the natural meanings of the words 'particular' and 'universal/ The 
'particular 7 is thus conceived as being just its individual self with no neces- 
sary relevance to any other particular. It answers to Descartes 7 definition 
of substance: "And when we conceive of substance, we merely conceive an 
existent thing which requires nothing but itself in order to exist. 77 13 This 
definition is a true derivative from Aristotle's definition: A primary sub- 
stance is "neither asserted of a subject nor present in a subject. 77 14 We 
must add the title phrase of Descartes 7 The Second Meditation: "Of the 
Nature of the Human Mind; and that it is more easily known than the 
Body,' 7 together with his two statements: "... thought constitutes the 
nature of thinking substance,' 7 and "everything that we find in mind is 
but so many diverse forms of thinking. 77 15 This sequence of quotations 
exemplifies the set of presuppositions which led to Locke's empiricism and 
to Kant's critical philosophy— the two dominant influences from which 
modern thought is derived. This is the side of seventeenth-century philoso- 
phy which is here discarded. 

The principle of universal relativity directly traverses Aristotle's dictum, 
'A substancet is not present in a subject.' On the contrary, according to 
this principle an actual entity is present in other actual entities. In fact if 
we allow for degrees of relevance, and for negligible relevance, we must 
say that every actual entity is present in every other actual entity. The 
philosophy of organism [80] is mainly devoted to the task of making clear 
the notion of 'being present in another entity.' This phrase is here borrowed 
from Aristotle: it is not a fortunate phrase, and in subsequent discussion 
it will be replaced by the term 'objectification.' The Aristotelian phrase 
suggests the crude notion that one actual entity is added to another sim- 
pliciter. This is not what is meant. One role of the eternal objects is that 
they are those elements which express how any one actual entity is con- 
stituted by its synthesis of other actual entities, and how that actual entity 
develops from the primary dative phase into its own individual actual 

12 This epithet is, of course, borrowed from William James. 

13 Principles of Philosophy, Part I, 51.* 

14 Aristotle by W. D. Ross, Ch. II. 

15 Principles of Philosophy , Part I, 53. 

Fact and Form 51 

existence, involving its individual enjoyments and appetitions. An actual 
entity is concrete because it is such a particular concrescence of the 


A short examination of Locke's Essay Concerning^ Human Under- 
standing will throw light on the presuppositions from which the philosophy 
of organism originates. These citations from Locke are valuable as clear 
statements of the obvious deliverances of common sense, expressed with 
their natural limitations. They cannot be bettered in their character of pre- 
sentations of facts which have to be accepted by any satisfactory system of 

The first point to notice is that in some of his statements Locke comes 
very near to the explicit formulation of an organic philosophy of the type 
being developed here. It was only his failure to notice that his problem 
required a more drastic revision of traditional categories than that which 
he actually effected, that led to a vagueness of statement, and the intru- 
sion of inconsistent elements. It was this conservative, other side of Locke 
which led to his sceptical overthrow by Hume. In his turn. Hume (despite 
his explicit repudiation in his Treatise, Part I, Sect. VI) was a thorough 
conservative, and in his explanation of mentality and its content never 
moved away from the subject-predicate habits of thought [81] which had 
been impressed on the European mind by the overemphasis on Aristotle's 
logic during the long mediaeval period. In reference to this twist of mind, 
probably Aristotle was not an Aristotelian. But Hume's sceptical reduction 
of knowledge entirely depends (for its arguments) on the tacit presupposi- 
tion of the mind as subject and of its contents as predicates— a presuppo- 
sition which explicitly he repudiates. 

The merit of Locke's Essay Concerning^ Human Understanding is its 
adequacy, and not its consistency. He gives the most dispassionate descrip- 
tions of those various elements in experience which common sense never 
lets slip. Unfortunately he is hampered by inappropriate metaphysical 
categories which he never criticized. He should have widened the title 
of his book into 'An Essay Concerningt Experience/ His true topic is the 
analysis of the types of experience enjoyed by an actual entity. But this 
complete experience is nothing other than what the actual entity is in it- 
self, for itself. I will adopt the pre-Kantian phraseology, and say that the 
experience enjoyed by an actual entity is that entity formaliter. By this I 
mean that the entity, when considered 'formally,' is being described in re- 
spect to those forms of its constitution whereby it is that individual entity 
with its own measure of absolute self-realization. Its 'ideas of things' are 
what other things are for it. In the phraseology of these lectures, they are 
its 'feelings.' The actual entity is composite and analysable; and its 'ideas' 
express how, and in what sense, other things are components in its own 

52 Discussions and Applications 

constitution. Thus the form of its constitution is to be found by an analy- 
sis of the Lockian ideas. Locke talks of 'understanding 7 and 'perception/ 
He should have started with a more general neutral term to express the 
synthetic concrescence whereby the many things of the universe become 
the one actual entity. Accordingly I have adopted the term 'prehension/ 
to express the activity whereby an actual entity effects its own concretion 
of other things. 

[82] The 'prehension 7 of one actual entity by another actual entity is the 
complete transaction, analysable into the objectification of the former 
entity as one of the data for the latter, and into the fully clothed feeling 
whereby the datum is absorbed into the subjective satisfaction— 'clothed 7 
with the various elements of its 'subjective form. 7 But this definition can be 
stated more generally so as to include the case of the prehension of an 
eternal object by an actual entity; namely, The 'positive prehension 7 of an 
entity by an actual entity is the complete transaction analysable into the 
ingression, or objectification, of that entity as a datum for feeling, and 
into the feeling whereby this datum is absorbed into the subjective satis- 
faction. I also discard Locke's term 'idea. 7 Instead of that term, the other 
things, in their limited r61es as elements for the actual entity in question, 
are called 'objects 7 for that thing. There are four main types of objects, 
namely, 'eternal objects, 7 'propositions, 7 'objectified 7 actual entities and 
nexus. These 'eternal objects 7 are Locke's ideas as explained in his Essay 
(II, I, l),t where he writes: 
Idea is the object of thinking. — Every man being conscious to himself 
that he thinks, and that which his mind is applied about, whilst think- 
ing, being the ideas that are there, it is past doubt that men have in 
their mind several ideas, such as aret those expressed by the words, 
"whiteness, hardness, sweetness, thinking, motion, man, elephant, army, 
drunkenness, 77 and others. 
But latert (III, III, 2), when discussing general terms (and subcon- 
sciously, earlier in his discussion of 'substance 7 in II, XXIII), he adds par- 
enthetically another type of ideas which are practically what I term 'ob- 
jectified actual entities' and 'nexus. 7 He calls them 'ideas of particular 
things 7 ; and he explains why, in general, such ideas cannot have their 
separate names. The reason is simple and undeniable: there are too many 
actual entities. He writes: "But it is beyond the power of human capacity 
to frame and retain distinct ideas of all the particular things we meet with: 
every bird and beast men saw, [83] every tree and plant that affected the 
senses, could not find a place in the most capacious understanding. 77 The 
context shows that it is not the impossibility of an 'idea 7 of any particular 
thing which is the seat of the difficulty; it is solely their number. This no- 
tion of a direct 'idea' (or 'feeling') of an actual entity is a presupposition of 
all common sense; Santayana ascribes it to 'animal faith. 7 But it accords 
very ill with the sensationalist theory of knowledge which can be derived 

Fact and Form 53 

from other parts of Locke's writings. Both Locke and Descartes wrestle 
with exactly the same difficulty. 

The principle that I am adopting is that consciousness presupposes ex- 
perience, and not experience consciousness. It is a special element in the 
subjective forms of some feelings. Thus an actual entity may, or may not, 
be conscious of some part of its experience. Its experience is its complete 
formal constitution, including its consciousness, if any. Thus, in Locke's 
phraseology, its 'ideas of particular things' are those other things exercising 
their function as felt components of its constitution. Locke would only term 
them 'ideas' when these objectifications belong to that region of experience 
lit up by consciousness. In Section 4t of the same chapter, he definitely 
makes all knowledge to be "founded in particular things. 77 He writes: 
". . . yet a distinct name for every particular thing would not be of any 
great use for the improvement of knowledge: which, though founded in 
particular things, 1 * enlarges itself by general views; to which things reduced 
into sortst under general names, are properly subservient/ 7 Thus for Locke, 
in this passage, there are not first the qualities and then the conjectural 
particular things; but conversely. Also he illustrates his meaning of a 'par- 
ticular thing' by a leaf/ a 'crow, 7 a 'sheep, 7 a 'grain of sand. 7 So he is not 
thinking of a particular patch of colour, or other sense-datum. 17 For ex- 
ample, [84] in Section 7 of the same chapter, in reference to children he 
writes: "The ideas of the nurse and the mother are well framed in their 
minds; and, like pictures of them there, represent only those individuals. 77 
This doctrine of Locke's must be compared with Descartes' doctrine of 
'realitas objectiva. 7 Locke inherited the dualistic separation of mind from 
body. If he had started with the one fundamental notion of an actual en- 
tity, '.he complex of ideas disclosed in consciousness would have at once 
turned into the complex constitution of the actual entity disclosed in its 
own consciousness, so far as it is conscious— fitfully, partially, or not at all. 
Locke definitely states how ideas become general. In Section 6 of the 
chapter he writes: ". . . and ideas become general by separating from 
them the circumstances of time, and place, and any other ideas that may 
determine them to this or that particular existence." Thus for Locke the 
abstract idea is preceded by the 'idea of a particular existent'; "[children] 
frame an idea which they find those many particulars do partake in. 7 ' This 
statement of Locke's should be compared with the Category of Con- 
ceptual Valuation, which is the fourth categoreal obligation. 

Locke discusses the constitution of actual things under the term 'real 
essences.' He writes (Section 15,t same chapter): "And thus the real in- 

16 My italics. 

17 As he is in I, II, 1 5, where he writes, "The senses at first let in particular 
ideas, and furnish the yet empty cabinet; . . ." Note the distinction between 
'particular ideas' and 'ideas of particular things/ 

54 Discussions and Applications 

ternal (but generally in substances unknown) constitution of things, 
whereon their discoverable qualities depend, may be called their 'essence/ " 
The point is that Locke entirely endorses the doctrine that an actual entity 
arises out of a complex constitution involving other entities, though, t by 
his unfortunate use of such terms as 'cabinet/ he puts less emphasis on the 
notion of 'process 7 than does Hume. 

Locke has in fact stated in his work one main problem for the philosophy 
of organism. He discovers that the mind is a unity arising out of the active 
prehension of ideas into one concrete thing. Unfortunately, he presup- 
poses both the Cartesian dualism whereby minds are one kind of par- 
ticulars, and natural entities are another kind [85] of particulars, and also 
the subject-predicate dogma. He is thus, in company with Descartes, driven 
to a theory of representative perception. For example, in one of the quota- 
tions already cited,t he writes: "and, like pictures of them there, represent 
only those individuals. 77 This doctrine obviously creates an insoluble prob- 
lem for epistemology, only to be solved either by some sturdy make-believe 
of 'animal faith, 7 with Santayana, or by some doctrine of illusorinesst— 
some doctrine of mere appearance, inconsistent if taken as real — with 
Bradley. Anyhow 'representative perception 7 can never, within its own 
metaphysical doctrines, produce the title deeds to guarantee the validity of 
the representation of fact by idea. 

Locke and the philosophers of his epoch— the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries— are misled by one fundamental misconception. It is the 
assumption, unconscious and uncriticized, that logical simplicity can be 
identified with priority in the process constituting an experient occasion. 
Locke founded the first two books of his Essay on this presupposition, with 
thet exception of his early sections on 'substance, 7 which are quoted imme- 
diately below. In the third and fourth books of the Essay he abandons this 
presupposition, again unconsciously as it seems. 

This identification of priority in logic with priority in practice has 
vitiated thought and procedure from the first discovery of mathematics and 
logic by the Greeks. For example, some of the worst defects in educational 
procedure have been due to it. Locke's nearest approach to the philosophy 
of organism, and— from the point of view of that doctrine— his main over- 
sight, are best exemplified by the first section of his chapter, 'Of our Com- 
plex Ideas of Substances 7 (II, XXIII, 1). He writes: 

The mind, being, as I have declared, furnished with a great number 
of the simple ideas conveyed in by the senses, as they are found in 
exterior things, or by reflection on its own operations, takes notice, 
also, that a certain number of these simple ideas go constantly to- 
gether; [86] which being presumed to belong to one thing, and words 
being suited to common apprehensions, and made use of for quick dis- 
patch, are called, so united in one subject, by one name; which, by in- 
advertency, we are apt afterward to talk of and consider as one simple 
idea, which indeed is a complication of many ideas together: because, 

Fact and Form 55 

as I have said, not imagining how these simple ideas can subsist by 
themselves, we accustom ourselves to suppose some substratum 
wherein they do subsist, and from which they do result; which there- 
fore we call "substance/' 

In this section, Locke's first statement, which is the basis of the re- 
mainder of the section, is exactly the primary assumption of the philosophy 
of organism: "The mind, being . . . furnished with a great number of the 
simple ideas conveyed in by the senses, as they are found in exterior 
things, . . ." Here the last phrase, 'as they are found in exterior things/ 
asserted what later I shall call the vector character of the primary feelings. 
The universals involved obtain that status by reason of the fact that 'they 
are found in exterior things' This is Locke's assertion and it is the assertion 
of the philosophy of organism. It can also be conceived as a development 
of Descartes' doctrine of 'realitas objectiva. 7 The universals are the only 
elements in the data describable by concepts, because concepts are merely 
the analytic functioning of universals. But the 'exterior things/ although 
they are not expressible by concepts in respect to their individual particu- 
larity, are no less data for feeling; so that the concrescent actuality arises 
from feeling their status of individual particularity; and thus that particu- 
larity is included as an element from which feelings originate, and which 
they concern. 

The sentence later proceeds with, "a certain number of these simple 
ideas go constantly together." This can only mean that in the immediate 
perception 'a certain number of these simple ideas' are found together in an 
exterior thing, and that the recollection of antecedent moments of experi- 
ence discloses that the same fact, of [87] togetherness in an exterior thing, 
holds for the same set of simple ideas. Again, the philosophy of organism 
agrees that this description is true for moments of immediate experience. 
But Locke, owing to the fact that he veils his second premise under the 
phrase 'go constantly together,' omits to consider the question whether the 
'exterior things' of the successive moments are to be identified. 

The answer of the philosophy of organism is that, in the sense in which 
Locke is here speaking, the exterior things of successive moments are not 
to be identified with each other. Each exterior thing is either one actual 
entity, or (more frequently) is a nexus of actual entities with imme- 
diacies mutually contemporary. For the sake of simplicity we will speak 
only of the simpler case where the 'exterior thing' means one actual entity 
at the moment in question. But what Locke is explicitly concerned with is 
the notion of the self-identity of the one enduring physical body which lasts 
for years, or for seconds, or for ages. He is considering the current philo- 
sophical notion of an individualized particular substance (in the Aristot- 
elian sense) which undergoes adventures of change, retaining its substantial 
form amid transition oft accidents. Throughout his Essay, he in effect re- 
tains this notion while rightly insisting on its vagueness and obscurity. The 
philosophy of organism agrees with Locke and Hume, that the non-in- 

56 Discussions and Applications 

dividualized substantial form is nothing else than the collectiqn of uni- 
versal— or ? more accurately, the one complex universal— common to the 
succession of 'exterior things' at successive moments respectively. In other 
words, an 'exterior thing' is either one 'actual entity/ or is a 'society' with a 
'defining characteristic' For the organic philosophy, these 'exterior things' 
(in the former sense) are the final concrete actualities. The individualized 
substance (of Locke) must be construed to be the historic route constituted 
by some society of fundamental 'exterior things,' stretching from the first 
'thing' to the last 'thing/ 

[88] But Locke, throughout his Essay, rightly insists that the chief ingre- 
dient in the notion of 'substance' is the notion of 'power/ The philosophy 
of organism holds that,t in order to understand 'power/ we must have a 
correct notion of how each individual actual entity contributes to the 
datum from which its successors arise and to which they must conform. 
The reason why the doctrine of power is peculiarly relevant to the en- 
during things, which the philosophy of Locke's day conceived as individual- 
ized substances, is that any likeness between the successive occasions of 
at historic route procures a corresponding identity between their contribu- 
tions to the datum of any subsequent actual entity; and it therefore secures 
a corresponding intensification in the imposition of conformity. The princi- 
ple is the same as that which holds for the more sporadic occasions in 
empty space; but the uniformity along the historic route increases the de- 
gree of conformity which that route exacts from the future. In particular 
each historic route of like occasions tends to prolong itself, by reason of the 
weight of uniform inheritance derivable from its members. The philosophy 
of organism abolishes the detached mind. Mental activity is one of the 
modes of feeling belonging to all actual entities in some degree, but only 
amounting to conscious intellectuality in some actual entities. This higher 
grade of mental activity is the intellectual self analysis of the entity in an 
earlier stage of incompletion, effected by intellectual feelings produced in 
a later stage of concrescence. 18 

The perceptive constitution of the actual entity presents the problem, 
How can the other actual entities, each with its own formal existence, also 
enter objectively into the perceptive constitution of the actual entity in 
question? This is the problem of the solidarity of the universe. The classical 
doctrines of universals and particulars, of subject and predicate, of individ- 
ual substances not present in other individual substances, of [89] the exter- 
nality of relations, alike render this problem incapable of solution. The 
answer given by the organic philosophy is the doctrine of prehensions, in- 
volved in concrescent integrations, and terminating in a definite, complex 
unity of feeling. To be actual must mean that all actual things are alike ob- 
jects, enjoying objective immortality in fashioning creative actions; and 
that all actual things are subjects, each prehending the universe from which 

18 Cf. Part III, Ch. V. 

Fact and Form 57 

it arises. The creative action is the universe always becoming one in a par- 
ticular unity of self-experience, and thereby adding to the multiplicity 
which is the universe as many. This insistent concrescence into unity is 
the outcome of the ultimate self-identity of each entity. No entity— be it 
'universal' or 'particular'— can play disjoined roles. Self-identity requires 
that every entity have one conjoined, self-consistent function, whatever be 
the complexity of that function. 


There is another side of Locke, which is his doctrine of power/ This 
doctrine is a better illustration of his admirable adequacy than of his con- 
sistency; there is no escape from Hume's demonstration that no such doc- 
trine is compatible with a purely sensationalist philosophy. The establish- 
ment of such a philosophy, though derivative from Locke, was not his 
explicit purpose. Every philosophical school in the course of its history 
requires two presiding philosophers. One of them under the influence of 
the main doctrines of the school should survey experience with some ade- 
quacy, but inconsistently. The other philosopher should reduce the doc- 
trines of the school to a rigid consistency; he will thereby effect a reductio 
ad absurdum. No school of thought has performed its full service to 
philosophy until these men have appeared. In this way the school of sensa- 
tionalist empiricism derives its importance from Locke and Hume. 

Locke introduces his doctrine of 'power' as follows (II, XXI, L3t)* 

This idea how got.— The mind being [90] every day informed, by 
the senses, of the alteration of those simple ideas it observes in things 
without, and taking notice how one comes to an end and ceases to 
be, and another begins to exist which was not before; reflecting also on 
what passes within itself, and observing a constant change of its ideas, 
sometimes by the impression of outward objects on the senses, and 
sometimes by the determination of its own choice; and concluding, 
from what it has so constantly observed to have been, that the like 
changes will for the future be made in the same things! by like agents, 
and by the like ways; considers in one thing the possibility of having 
any of its simple ideas changed, and in another the possibility of 
making that change; and so comes by that idea which we call "power." 
Thus we say, fire has a power to melt gold; . . . and gold has a power 
to be melted: ... In which and thet like cases, the power we con- 
sider is in reference to the change of perceivable ideas: for we cannot 
observe any alteration to be made in, or operation upon, any thing, 
but by the observable change of its sensible ideas; nor conceive any 
alteration to be made, but by conceiving a change of some of its 
ideas. . . .* Power thus considered is twofold; viz. as able to make, or 
able to receive, any change: the one may be called "active," and the 
other "passive," power. . . .* I confess power includes in it some kind 

58 Discussions and Applications 

of relation,— a relation to action or change; as, indeed, which of our 
ideas, of what kind soever, when attentively considered, does not? 
For our ideas of extension, duration, and number, do they not all 
contain in them a secret relation of the parts? Figure and motion have 
something relative in them much more visibly. And sensible qualities, 
as colours and smells, etc., what are they but the powers of different 
bodies in relation to our perception? . . . Our idea therefore of power, 
I think, may well have a place amongst other simple ideas, and be 
considered as one of them, being one of those that make a principal 
ingredient in our complex ideas of substances, as we shall hereafter 
have occasion to observe. 

[91] In this important passage, Locke enunciates the main doctrines of 
the philosophy of organism, namely: the principle of relativity; the rela- 
tional character of eternal objects, whereby they constitute the forms of 
the objectifications of actual entities for each other; the composite char- 
acter of an actual entity (i.e., a substance); the notion of 'power' as making 
a principal ingredient in that of actual entity (substance). In this latter 
notion, Locke adumbrates both the ontological principle, and also the 
principle that the 'power' of one actual entity on the other is simply how 
the former is objectified in the constitution of the other. Thus the prob- 
lem of perception and the problem of power are one and the same, at least 
so far as perception is reduced to mere prehension of actual entities. Per- 
ception, in the sense of consciousness of such prehension, requires the ad- 
ditional factor of the conceptual prehension of eternal objects, and a pro- 
cess of integration of the two factors (cf. Part III). 

Locke's doctrine of 'power' is reproduced in the philosophy of organism 
by the doctrine of the two types of objectification, namely, (a) 'causal 
objectification,' and (p) 'presentational objectification.' 

In 'causal objectification' what is felt subjectively by the objectified ac- 
tual entity is transmitted objectively to the concrescent actualities which 
supersede it. In Locke's phraseology the objectified actual entity is then 
exerting 'power.' In this type of objectification the eternal objects, rela- 
tional between object and subject, express the formal constitution of the 
objectified actual entity. 

In 'presentational objectification' the relational eternal objects fall into 
two sets, one set contributed by the 'extensive' perspective of the perceived 
from the position of the perceiver, and the other set by the antecedent con- 
crescent phases of the perceiver. What is ordinarily termed 'perception' is 
consciousness of presentational objectification. But according to the phi- 
losophy of organism there can be consciousness of both types of objectifi- 
cation. There can be such consciousness of both [92] types because, ac- 
cording to this philosophy, the knowable is the complete nature of the 
knower, at least such phases of it as are antecedent to that operation of 

Locke misses one essential doctrine, namely, that the doctrine of interna 1 

Fact and Form 59 

relations makes it impossible to attribute 'change 7 to any actual entity. 
Every actual entity is what it is, and is with its definite status in the 
universe, determined by its internal relations to other actual entities. 
'Change' is the description of the adventures of eternal objects in the 
evolving universe of actual things. 

The doctrine of internal relations introduces another consideration 
which cannot be overlooked without error. Locke considers the 'real es- 
sence' and the 'nominal essence' of things. But on the theory of the gen- 
eral relativity of actual things between each other, and of the internality of 
these relations, there are two distinct notions hidden under the term 'real 
essence/ both of importance. Locke writes (III, III, 15) : 
Essence may be taken for the being of any thing, whereby it is what it 
is. And thus the real internal (but generally in substances unknown) 
constitution of things, whereon their discoverable qualities depend, 
may be called their "essence/ 7 ... It is true, there is ordinarily supposed 
a real constitution of the sorts of things: and it is past doubt there 
must be some real constitution, on which any collection of simple 
ideas co-existing must depend. But it being evident that things are 
ranked under names into sorts or species only as they agree to certain 
abstract ideas to which we have annexed those t names, the essence of 
each genus or sort comes to be nothing but that abstract idea, which 
the general or "sortal" (if I may have leave so to call it from "sort," as I 
do "general" from genus) name stands for. And thist we shall find to 
be that which the word "essence" imparts in its mostt familiar use. 
These two sorts of essences, I suppose, may not unfitly be termed, the 
one the "real," the other the "nominal," essence. 

[93] The fundamental notion of the philosophy of organism is expressed 
in Locke's phrase, "it is past doubt there must be some real constitution, 
on which any collection of simple ideas co-existing must depend." Locke 
makes it plain (cf. II, II, 1) that by a 'simple idea' he means the ingression 
in the actual entity (illustrated by 'a piece of wax/ 'a piece of ice/ 'a rose') 
of some abstract quality which is not complex (illustrated by 'softness/ 
'warmth/ 'whiteness') . For Locke such simple ideas, coexisting^ in an actual 
entity, require a real constitution for that entity. Now in the philosophy of 
organism, passing beyond Locke's explicit statement, the notion of a real 
constitution is taken to mean that the eternal objects function by intro- 
ducing the multiplicity of actual entities as constitutive of the actual en- 
tity in question. Thus the constitution is 'real' because it assigns its status 
in the real world to the actual entity. In other words the actual entity, in 
virtue of being what it is, is also where it is. It is somewhere because it is 
some actual thing with its correlated actual world. This is the direct denial 
of the Cartesian doctrine, ". . . an existent thing which requires nothing 
but itself in order to exist." It is also inconsistent with Aristotle's phrase, 
"neither asserted of a subject nor present in a subject." 
I am certainly not maintaining that Locke grasped explicitly the impli- 

60 Discussions and Applications 

cations of his words as thus developed for the philosophy of organism. 
But it is a short step from a careless phrase to a flash of insight; nor is it un- 
believable that Locke saw further into metaphysical problems than some 
of his followers. But abandoning the question of what Locke had in his 
own mind, the 'organic doctrine' demands a 'real essence 7 in the sense of a 
complete analysis of the relations, and inter-relations of the actual entities 
which are formative of the actual entity in question, and an 'abstract es- 
sence' in which the specified actual entities are replaced by the notions of 
unspecified entities in such a combination: this is the notion of an un- 
specified actual entity. Thus the real [94] essence involves real objectifica- 
tions of specified actual entities; the abstract essence is a complex eternal 
object. There is nothing self-contradictory in the thought of many actual 
entities with the same abstract essence; but there can only be one actual 
entity with the same real essence. For the real essence indicates 'where' 
the entity is, that is to say, its status in the real world; the abstract essence 
omits the particularity of the status. 

The philosophy of organism in its appeal to the facts can thus support 
itself by an appeal to the insight of John Locke, who in British philosophy 
is the analogue to Plato, in the epoch of his life, in personal endowments, 
in width of experience, and in dispassionate statement of conflicting 

This doctrine of organism is the attempt to describe the world as a 
process of generation of individual actual entities, each with its own ab- 
solute self-attainment. This concrete finality of the individual is nothing 
else than a decision referent beyond itself. The 'perpetual perishing' (cf. 
Locke, II, XIV, It) of individual absoluteness is thus foredoomed. But the 
'perishing' of absoluteness is the attainment of 'objective immortality.' 
This last conception expresses the further element in the doctrine of or- 
ganism—that the process of generation is to be described in terms of actual 



[95] We must first consider the perceptive mode in which there is clear, 
distinct consciousness of the 'extensive' relations of the world. These rela- 
tions include the 'extensiveness' of space and the 'extensiveness' of time. 
Undoubtedly, this clarity, at least in regard to space, is obtained only in 
ordinary perception through the senses. This mode of perception is here 
termed 'presentational immediacy/ In this 'mode' the contemporary world 
is consciously prehended as a continuum of extensive relations. 

It cannot be too clearly understood that some chief notions of European 
thought were framed under the influence of a misapprehension, only par- 
tially corrected by the scientific progress of the last century. This mistake 
consists in the confusion of mere potentiality with actuality. Continuity 
concerns what is potential; whereas actuality is incurably atomic. 

This misapprehension is promoted by the neglect of the principle that, 
so far as physicalt relations are concerned, contemporary events happen in 
causal independence of each other. 1 This principle will have to be ex- 
plained later, in connection with an examination of process and of time. It 
receives an exemplification in the character of our perception of the world 
of contemporary actual entities. That contemporary world is objectified 
[96] for us as 'realitas objectiva, 7 illustrating bare extension with its various 
parts discriminated by differences of sense-data, t These qualities, such as 
colours, sounds, bodily feelings, tastes, smells, together with the perspec- 
tives introduced by extensive relationships, are the relational eternal ob- 
jects whereby the contemporary actual entities are elements in our consti- 
tution. This is the type of objectification which (in Sect. VII of the 
previous chapter) has been termed 'presentational objectification.' 

In this way, by reason of the principle of contemporary independence, 
the contemporary world is objectified for us under the aspect of passive 
potentiality. The very sense-data by which its parts are differentiated are 
supplied by antecedent states of our own bodies, and so is their distribution 
in contemporary space. Our direct perception of the contemporary world 
is thus reduced to extension, defining (i) our own geometrical perspectives, 
and (ii) possibilities of mutual perspectives for other contemporary entities 

1 This principle lies on the surface of the fundamental Einsteinian formula for 
the physical continuum. 


62 Discussions and Applications 

inter se, and (iii) possibilities of division. These possibilities of division con- 
stitute the external world a continuum. For a continuum is divisible; so 
far as the contemporary world is divided by actual entities, it is not a con- 
tinuum, but is atomic. Thus the contemporary world is perceived with its 
potentiality for extensive division, and not in its actual atomic division. 

The contemporary world as perceived by the senses is the datum for 
contemporary actuality, and is therefore continuous— divisible but not 
divided. The contemporary world is in fact divided and atomic, being a 
multiplicity of definite actual entities. These contemporary actual entities 
are divided from each other, and are not themselves divisible into other 
contemporary actual entities. This antithesis will have to be discussed later 
(cf. Part IV). But it is necessary to adumbrate it here. 

This limitation of the way in which the contemporary actual entities are 
relevant to the 'formal' existence of the subject in question is the first 
example of the general [97] principle, that objectification relegates into ir- 
relevance, or into a subordinate relevance, the full constitution of the ob- 
jectified entity. Some real component in the objectified entity assumes the 
r61e of being how that particular entity is a datum in the experience of the 
subject. In this case, the objectified contemporaries are only directly rele- 
vant to the subject in their character of arising from a datum which is an 
extensive continuum. They do, in fact, atomize this continuum; but the 
aboriginal potentiality, which they include and realize, is what they con- 
tribute as the relevant factor in their objectifications. They thus exhibit the 
community of contemporary actualities as a common world with mathe- 
matical relations— where the term 'mathematical' is used in the sense in 
which it would have been understood by Plato, Euclid, and Descartes, 
before the modern discovery of the true definition of pure mathematics. 

The bare mathematical potentialities of the extensive continuum re- 
quire an additional content in order to assume the role of real objects for 
the subject. This content is supplied by the eternal objects t termed sense- 
data. These objects are 'given' for the experience of the subject. Their 
givenness does not arise from the 'decision' of the contemporary entities 
which are thus objectified. It arises from the functioning of the antecedent 
physical body of the subject; and this functioning can in its turn be ana- 
lysed as representing the influence of the more remote past, a past com- 
mon alike to the subject and to its contemporary actual entities. Thus 
these sense-data are eternal objects playing a complex relational role; 
they connect the actual entities of the past with the actual entities of the 
contemporary world, and thereby effect objectifications of the contem- 
porary things and of the past things. For instance, we see the contemporary 
chair, but we see it with our eyes; and we touch the contemporary chair, 
but we touch it with our hands. Thus colours objectify the chair in one 
way, and objectify the eyes in another way, as elements in the experience 
of the subject. [95] Also touch objectifies the chair in one way, and ob- 

The Extensive Continuum 63 

jectifies the hands in another way, as elements in the experience of the 
subject. But the eyes and the hands are in the past (the almost immediate 
past) and the chair is in the present The chair, thus objectified, is the 
objectification of a contemporary nexus of actual entities in its unity as one 
nexus. This nexus is illustrated as to its constitution by the spatial region, 
with its perspective relations. This region is, in fact, atomized by the mem- 
bers of the nexus. By the operation of the Category of Transmutation (cf. 
Parts III and IV), in the objectification an abstraction is made from the 
multiplicity of members and from all components of their formal consti- 
tutions, except the occupation of this region. This prehension, in the 
particular example considered, will be termed the prehension of a 'chair- 
image/ Also the intervention of the past is not confined to antecedent eyes 
and hands. There is a more remote past throughout nature external to the 
body. The direct relevance of this remote past, relevant by reason of its 
direct objectification in the immediate subject, is practically negligible, so 
far as concerns prehensions of a strictly physical type. 

But external nature has an indirect relevance by the transmission 
through it of analogous prehensions. In this way there are in it various 
historical routes of intermediate objectifications. Such relevant historical 
routes lead up to various parts of the animal body, and transmit into it 
prehensions which form the physical influence of the external environment 
on the animal body. But this external environment which is in the past of 
the concrescent subject is also, with negligible exceptions, in the past of 
the nexus which is the objectified chair-image. If there be a 'real chair/ 
there will be another historical route of objectifications from nexus to 
nexus in this environment. The members of each nexus will be mutually 
contemporaries. Also the historical route will lead up to the nexus which 
is the chair-image. The complete nexus, composed of this historical route 
and the [99] chair-image, will form a 'corpuscular' society. This society is 
the 'real chair/ 

The prehensions of the concrescent subject and the formal constitutions 
of the members of the contemporary nexus which is the chair-image are 
thus conditioned by the properties of the same environment in the past. 
The animal body is so constructed that, with rough accuracy and in 
normal conditions, important emphasis is thus laid upon those regions in 
the contemporary world which are particularly relevant for the future 
existence of the enduring object of which the immediate percipient is one 

A reference to the Category of Transmutation will show that perception 
of contemporary 'images 7 in the mode of 'presentational immediacy' is an 
'impure' prehension. The subsidiary 'pure 7 physical prehensions are the 
components which provide some definite information as to the physical 
world; the subsidiary 'pure 7 mental prehensions are the components by 
reason of which the theory of 'secondary qualities 7 was introduced into the 

64 Discussions and Applications 

theory of perception. The account here given traces back these secondary 
qualities to their root in physical prehensions expressed by the 'wiihness of 
the body/ 

If the familiar correlations between physical paths and the life-histories 
of a chair and of the animal body are not satisfied, we are apt to say that 
our perceptions are delusive. The word 'delusive'" is all very well as a tech- 
nical term; but it must not be misconstrued to mean that what we have 
directly perceived, we have not directly perceived. Our direct perception, 
via our senses, of an immediate extensive shape, in a certain geometrical 
perspective to ourselves, and in certain general geometrical relations to the 
contemporary world, remains an ultimate fact. Our inferences are at fault. 
In Cartesian phraseology, it is a final 'inspectio' (also termed Hntuitio') 
which, when purged of all 'judicium— i.e., of 'inference — is final for belief. 
This whole question of 'delusive' perception must be considered later (cf. 
Part III, Chs. Ill to V) in more [100] detail. We can, however, see at once 
that there are grades of 'delusiveness.' There is the non-delusive case, when 
we see a chair-image and there is a chair. There is the partially delusive case 
when we have been looking in a mirror; in this case, the chair-image we 
see is not the culmination of the corpuscular society of entities which we 
call the real chair. Finally, we may have been taking drugs, so that the 
chair-image we see has no familiar counterpart in any historical route of a 
corpuscular society. Also there are other delusive grades where the lapse of 
time is the main element. These cases are illustrated by our perceptions of 
the heavenly bodies. In delusive cases we are apt, in a confusing way, to 
say that the societies of entities which we did not see but correctly inferred 
are the things that we 'really' saw. 

The conclusion of this discussion is that the ingression of the eternal 
objects termed 'sense-data' t into the experience of a subject cannot be 
construed as the simple objectification of the actual entity to which, in- 
ordinary speech, we ascribe that sense-datum as a quality. The ingression 
involves a complex relationship, whereby the sense-datum emerges as the 
'given' eternal object by which some past entities are objectified (for ex- 
ample, colour seen with the eyes and bad temper inherited from the 
viscera) and whereby the sense-datum also enters into the objectification 
of a society of actual entities in the contemporary world. Thus a sense- 
datum has ingression into experience by reason of its forming the what of 
a very complex multiple integration of prehensions within that occasion. 
For example, the ingression of a visual sense-datum involves the causal 
objectification of various antecedent bodily organs and the presentational 
objectification of the shape seen, this shape being a nexus of contemporary 
actual entities. In this account of the ingression of sense-data, the animal 
body is nothing more than the most intimately relevant part of the ante- 
cedent settled world. To sum up this account: When we perceive a con- 
temporary extended shape which we term a 'chair/ the sense- [101} data in- 
volved are not necessarily elements in the 'real internal constitution' of this 

The Extensive Continuum 65 

chair-image: they are elements— in some way of feeling— in the 'real in- 
ternal constitutions' of those antecedent organs of the human body with 
which we perceive the 'chair/ The direct recognition of such antecedent 
actual entities, with which we perceive contemporaries, is hindered and, 
apart from exceptional circumstances, rendered impossible by the spatial 
and temporal vagueness which infect such data. Later (cf. Part III, Chs. 
Ill to V) the whole question of this perception of a nexus vaguely, that is 
to say, without distinction of the actual entities composing it, is discussed 
in terms of the theory of prehensions, and in relation to the Category of 


This account of 'presentational immediacy' presupposes two metaphysi- 
cal assumptions: 

(i) That the actual world, in so far as it is a community of entities 
which are settled, actual, and already become, conditions and limits the 
potentiality for creativeness beyond itself. This 'given' world provides de- 
terminate data in the form of those objectifications of themselves which 
the characters of its actual entities can provide. This is a limitation laid 
upon the general potentiality provided by eternal objects, considered 
merely in respect to the generality of their natures. Thus, relatively to any 
actual entity, there is a 'giver/ world of settled actual entities and a 'real' 
potentiality, which is the datum for creativeness beyond that standpoint. 
This datum, which is the primary phase in the process constituting an 
actual entity, is nothing else than the actual world itself in its character 
of a possibility for the process of being felt. This exemplifies the meta- 
physical principle that every 'being' is a potential for a 'becoming/ The 
actual world is the 'objective content' of each new creation. 

Thus we have always to consider two meanings of [102] potentiality: (a) 
the 'general' potentiality, which is the bundle of possibilities, mutually con- 
sistent or alternative, provided by the multiplicity of eternal objects, and 
(b) the 'real' potentiality, which is conditioned by the data provided by 
the actual world. General potentiality is absolute, and real potentiality is 
relative to some actual entity, taken as a standpoint whereby the actual 
world is denned. It must be remembered that the phrase 'actual world' is 
like 'yesterday' and 'tomorrow/ in that it alters its meaning according to 
standpoint. The actual world must always mean the community of all 
actual entities, including the primordial actual entity called 'God' and 
the temporal actual entities. 

Curiously enough, even at this early stage of metaphysical discussion, 
the influence of the 'relativity theory' of modern physics is important. 
According to the classical 'uniquely serial' view of time, two contemporary 
actual entities define the same actual world. According to the modern view 

66 Discussions and Applications 

no two actual entities define the same actual world. Actual entities are 
called 'contemporary' when neither belongs to the given* actual world de- 
fined by the other. 

The differences between the actual worlds of a pair of contemporary 
entities, which are in a certain sense 'neighbours/ are negligible for most 
human purposes. Thus the difference between the 'classical' and the 'rela- 
tivity' view of time only rarely has any important relevance. I shall always 
adopt the relativity view; for one reason, because it seems better to accord 
with the general philosophical doctrine of relativity which is presupposed 
in the philosophy of organism; and for another reason, because with rare 
exceptions the classical doctrine can be looked on as a special case of the 
relativity doctrine— a case which does not seem to accord with experimental 
evidence. In other words, the classical view seems to limit a general 
philosophical doctrine; it is the larger assumption; and its consequences, 
taken in conjunction with other scientific principles, seem to be false. 

[J 03] (ii) The second metaphysical assumption is that the real poten- 
tialities relative to all standpoints are coordinated as diverse determinations 
of one extensive continuum. This extensive continuum is one relational 
complex in which all potential objectifications find their niche. It underlies 
the whole world, past, present, and future. Considered in its full generality, 
apart from the additional conditions proper only to the cosmic epoch of 
electrons, protons, molecules, and star-systems, the properties of this con- 
tinuum are very few and do not include the relationships of metrical 
geometry. An extensive continuum is a complex of entities united by the 
various allied relationships of whole to part, and of overlapping so as to 
possess common parts, and of contact, and of other relationships derived 
from these primary relationships. The notion of a 'continuum' involves 
both the property of indefinite divisibility and the property of unbounded 
extension. There are always entities beyond entities, because nonentity is 
no boundary. This extensive continuum expresses the solidarity of all pos- 
sible standpoints throughout the whole process of the world. It is not a fact 
prior to the world; it is the first determination of order— that is, of real 
potentiality— arising out of the general character of the world. In its full 
generality beyond the present epoch, it does not involve shapes, dimen- 
sions, or measurability; these are additional determinations of real po- 
tentiality arising from our cosmic epoch. 

This extensive continuum is 'real/ because it expresses a fact derived 
from the actual world and concerning the contemporary actual world. All 
actual entities are related according to the determinations of this con- 
tinuum; and all possible actual entities in the future must exemplify these 
determinations in their relations with the already actual world. The reality 
of the future is bound up with the reality of this continuum. It is the 
reality of what is potential, in its character of a real component of what is 
actual. Such a real component must be interpreted in \104] terms of the 

The Extensive Continuum 67 

relatedness of prehensions. This task will be undertaken in Chapter V of 
Part IV of these lectures. 

Actual entities atomize the extensive continuum. This continuum is in 
itself merely the potentiality for division; an actual entity effects this 
division. The objectification of the contemporary world merely expresses 
that world in terms of its potentiality for subdivision and in terms of the 
mutual perspectives which any such subdivision will bring into real ef- 
fectiveness. These are the primary governing data for any actual entity; 
for they express how all actual entities are in the solidarity of one world. 
With the becoming of any actual entity what was previously potential in 
the space-time continuum is now the primary real phase in something ac- 
tual. For each process of concrescence a regional standpoint in the world, 
defining a limited potentiality for objectifications, has been adopted. In 
the mere extensive continuum there is no principle to determine what 
regional quanta shall be atomized, so as to form the real perspective stand- 
point for the primary data constituting the basic phase in the concrescence 
of an actual entity. The factors in the actual world whereby this de- 
termination is effected will be discussed at a later stage of this investiga- 
tion. They constitute the initial phase of the 'subjective aim/ This initial 
phase is a direct derivate from God's primordial nature. In this function, 
as in every other, God is the organ of novelty, aiming at intensification. 

In the mere continuum there are contrary potentialities; in the actual 
world there are definite atomic actualities determining one coherent sys- 
tem of real divisions throughout the region of actuality. Every actual entity 
in its relationship to other actual entities is in this sense somewhere in 
the continuum, and arises out of the data provided by this standpoint. 
But in another sense it is everywhere throughout the continuum; for its 
constitution includes the objectifications of the actual world and thereby 
includes the continuum; also the [105] potential objectifications of itself 
contribute to the real potentialities whose solidarity the continuum ex- 
presses. Thus the continuum is present in each actual entity, and each 
actual entity pervades the continuum. 

This conclusion can be stated otherwise. Extension, apart from its 
spatialization and temporalization, is that general scheme of relationships 
providing the capacity that many objects can be welded into the real unity 
of one experience. Thus, an act of experience has an objective scheme of 
extensive order by reason of the double fact that its own perspective stand- 
point has extensive content, and that the other actual entities are objecti- 
fied with the retention of their extensive relationships. These extensive 
relationships are more fundamental than their more special spatial and 
temporal relationships. Extension is the most general scheme of real po- 
tentiality, providing the background for all other organic relations. The 
potential scheme does not determine its own atomization by actual en- 
tities. It is divisible; but its real division by actual entities depends upon 

68 Discussions and Applications 

more particular characteristics of the actual entities constituting the ante- 
cedent environment. In respect to time, this atomization takes the special 
form 2 of the 'epochal theory of time/ In respect to space, it means that 
every actual entity in the temporal world is to be credited with a spatial 
volume for its perspective standpoint. These conclusions are required by 
the consideration 3 of Zeno's arguments, in connection with the presump- 
tion that an actual entity is an act of experience. The authority of Wil- 
liam James can be quoted in support of this conclusion. He writes: "Either 
your experience is of no content, of no change, or it is of a perceptible 
amount of content or change. Your acquaintance with reality grows liter- 
ally by buds or drops of perception. Intellectually and on reflection you 
can divide these into components, but as immediately given, [106] they 
come totally or not at all." 4 James also refers to Zeno. In substance I agree 
with his argument from Zeno; though I do not think that he allows suf- 
ficiently for those elements in Zeno's paradoxes which are the product of 
inadequate mathematical knowledge. But I agree that a valid argument 
remains after the removal of the invalid parts. 

The argument, so far as it is valid, elicits a contradiction from the two 
premises: (i) that in a becoming something (res vera) becomes, and (ii) 
that every act of becoming is divisible into earlier and later sections which 
are themselves acts of becoming. Consider, for example, an act of becom- 
ing during one second. The act is divisible into two acts, one during the 
earlier half of the second, the other during the later half of the second. 
Thus that which becomes during the whole second presupposes that 
which becomes during the first half-second. Analogously, that which be- 
comes during the first half-second presupposes that which becomes dur- 
ing the first quarter-second, and so on indefinitely. Thus if we consider 
the process of becoming up to the beginning of the second in question, 
and ask what then becomes, no answer can be given. For, whatever creature 
we indicate presupposes an earlier creature which became after the be- 
ginning of the second and antecedently to the indicated t creature. There- 
fore there is nothing which becomes, so as to effect a transition into the 
second in question. 

The difficulty is not evaded by assuming that something becomes at 
each non-extensive instant of time. For at the beginning of the second of 
time there is no next instant at which something can become. 

Zeno in his 'Arrow in Its Flight' seems to have had an obscure grasp of 
this argument. But the introduction of motion brings in irrelevant details. 
The true difficulty is to understand how the arrow survives the lapse of 

2 Cf. my Science and the Modern World, Ch. VII. 

3 Cf. loc. cit.; and Part IV of the present work. 

4 Some Problems of Philosophy, Ch X; my attention was drawn to this pas- 
sage by its quotation in Religion in thef Philosophy of William James, by Pro- 
fessor J. S. Bixler. 

The Extensive Continuum 69 

time. [107] Unfortunately Descartes' treatment of 'endurance' is very 
superficial, and subsequent philosophers have followed his example. 

In his 'Achilles and the Tortoise' Zeno produces an invalid argument 
depending on ignorance of the theory of infinite convergent numerical 
series. Eliminating the irrelevant details of the race and of motion— de- 
tails which have endeared the paradox to the literature of all ages— con- 
sider the first half-second as one act of becoming, the next quarter-second 
as another such act, the next eighth-second as yet another, and so on in- 
definitely. Zeno then illegitimately assumes this infinite series of acts of 
becoming can never be exhausted. But there is no need to assume that an 
infinite series of acts of becoming, with a first act, and each act with an 
immediate successor,! is inexhaustible in the process of becoming. Simple 
arithmetic assures us that the series just indicated will be exhausted in the 
period of one second. The way is then open for the intervention of a new 
act of becoming which lies beyond the whole series. Thus this paradox of 
Zeno is based upon a mathematical fallacy. 

The modification of the *' Arrow' paradox, stated above, brings out the 
principle that every act of becoming must have an immediate successor, if 
we admit that something becomes. For otherwise we cannot point out 
what creature becomes as we enter upon the second in question. But we 
cannot, in the absence of some additional premise, infer that every act of 
becoming must have had an immediate predecessor. 

The conclusion is that in every act of becoming there is the becoming of 
something with temporal extension; but that the act itself is not extensive, 
in the sense that it is divisible into earlier and later acts of becoming which 
correspond to the extensive divisibility of what has become. 

In this section, the doctrine is enunciated that the creature is extensive, 
but that its act of becoming is not extensive. This topic is resumed in Part 
IV. How- [108] ever, some anticipation of Parts III and IV is now required. 

The res vera, in its character of concrete satisfaction, is divisible into 
prehensions which concern its first temporal half and into prehensions 
which concern its second temporal half. This divisibility is what constitutes 
its extensiveness. But this concern with a temporal and spatial sub-region 
means that the datum of the prehension in question is the actual world, 
objectified with the perspective due to that sub-region. A prehension, how- 
ever, acquires subjective form, and this subjective form is only rendered 
fully determinate by integration with conceptual prehensions belonging to 
the mental pole of the res vera. The concrescence is dominated by a sub- 
jective aim which essentially concerns the creature as a final superject. This 
subjective aim is this subject itself determining its own self-creation as one 
creature. Thus the subjective aim does not share in this divisibility. If we 
confine attention to prehensions concerned with the earlier half, their sub- 
jective forms have arisen from nothing. For the subjective aim which be- 
longs to the whole is now excluded. Thus the evolution of subjective form 
could not be referred to any actuality. The ontological principle has been 

70 Discussions and Applications 

violated. Something has floated into the world from nowhere. 

The summary statement of this discussion is, that the mental pole de- 
termines the subjective forms and that this pole is inseparable from the 
total res vera. 


The discussion of the previous sections has merely given a modern 
o>hape to the oldest of European philosophic doctrines. But as a doctrine 
of common sense, it is older still— as old as consciousness itself. The most 
general notions underlying the words 'space' and 'time' are those which 
this discussion has aimed at expressing in their true connection with the 
actual world. The alternative doctrine, which is the Newtonian cosmology, 
emphasized the [109] 'receptacle' theory of space-time, and minimized the 
factor of potentiality. Thus bits of space and time were conceived as being 
as actual as anything else, and as being 'occupied' by other actualities 
which were the bits of matter. This is the Newtonian absolute' theory of 
space-time, which philosophers have never accepted, though at times some 
have acquiesced. Newton's famous Scholium 5 to his first eight definitions 
in his Principia expresses this point of view with entire clearness: 

Hitherto I have laid down the definitions of such words as are less 
known, and explained the sense in which I would have them to be 
understood in the following discourse. I do not define time, space, 
place, and motion, as being well known to all. Only I must observe, 
that the vulgar conceive those quantities under no other notions but 
from the relation they bear to sensible objects. And thence arise cer- 
tain prejudices, for the removing of which, it will be convenient to dis- 
tinguish them into absolute and relative, true and apparent, mathe- 
matical and common. 

I. Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, and from its 
own nature, flows equably without regard to anything external, and 
by another name is called duration: relative, apparent, and common 
time, is some sensible and external (whether accurate or unequable) 
measure of duration by thet means of motion, which is commonly 
used instead of true time; such as an hour, a day, a month, a year. 

II. Absolute space, in its own nature, and without regard to any- 
thing external, remains always similar and immovable. Relative space 
is some movable dimension or measure of the absolute spaces; which 
our senses determine by its position to bodies, and which is vulgarly 
taken for immovable space; . . . Absolute and relative space are the 
same in figure and magnitude; but they do not remain always nu- 
merically the same. . . . 

IV. ... As the order of the parts of time is [110] immutable, so 
also is the order of the parts of space. Suppose those parts to be 

5 Andrew Motte's translation; new edition revised, London, 1803. 

The Extensive Continuum 71 

moved out of their places, and they will be moved (if the expression 
may be allowed) out of themselves. For times and spaces are, as it 
were, the places as well of themselves as of all other things. All things 
are placed in time as to order of succession; and in space as to order oft 
situation. It is from their essence or nature that they are places; and 
that the primary places of things should be movable, is absurd. These 
are, therefore, the absolute places; and translations out of those places 
are the only absolute motions. . . . Now no other places are im- 
movable but those that, from infinity to infinity, do all retain the 
same given positions one to another; and upon this account must 
ever remain unmoved; and do thereby constitute, what I call, im- 
movable space. The causes by which true and relative motions are 
distinguished, one from the other, are the forces impressed upon 
bodies to generate motion. True motion is neither generated nor 
altered, but by some force impressed upon the body moved: but 
relative motion may be generated or altered without any force im- 
pressed upon the body. For it is sufficient only to impress some force 
on other bodies with which the former is compared, that by their 
giving way, that relation may be changed, in which the relative rest 
or motion of this other body did consist. . . . The effects which dis- 
tinguish absolute from relative motion are, the forces of receding 
from the axis of circular motion. For there are no such forces in a cir- 
cular motion purely relative, but, in a true and absolute circular mo- 
tion, they are greater or less, according to the quantity of motion. . . . 
Wherefore relative quantities are not the quantities themselves, 
whose names they bear, but those sensible measures of them (either 
accurate or inaccurate) which are commonly used instead of the mea- 
sured quantities themselves. . . . 

I have quoted at such length from Newton's Scholium because this 
document constitutes the clearest, most definite, and most influential 
statement among the cos- [111] mological speculations of mankind, specu- 
lations of a type which first assume scientific importance with the Py- 
thagorean school preceding and inspiring Plato. Newton is presupposing 
four types of entities which he does not discriminate in respect to their 
actuality: for him minds are actual things, bodies are actual things, ab- 
solute durations of time are actual things, and absolute places are actual 
things. He does not use the word 'actual'; but he is speaking of matter 
of fact, and he puts them all on the same level in that respect. The result 
is to land him in a clearly expressed but complex and arbitrary scheme of 
relationships between spaces inter se; between durations inter se; and be- 
tween minds, bodies, times and places, for the conjunction of them all into 
the solidarity of the one universe. For the purposes of science it was an 
extraordinarily clarifying statement, that is to say, for all the purposes of 
science within the next two hundred years, and for most of its purposes 
since that period. But, as a fundamental statement, it lies completely open 

72 Discussions and Applications 

to sceptical attack; and also, as Newton himself admits, diverges from 
common sense— "the vulgar conceive those quantities under no other 
notions but from the relation they bear to sensible objects/' Kant only 
saved it by reducing it to the description of a construct by means of which 
'pure intuition' introduces an order for chaotic data; and for the schools of 
transcendentalists derived from Kant this construct has remained in the 
inferior position of a derivative from the proper ultimate substantial 
reality. For them it is an element in 'appearance'; and appearance is to be 
distinguished from reality. The philosophy of organism is an attempt, 
with the minimum of critical adjustment, to return to the conceptions of 
'the vulgar/ f In the first place, the discussion must fasten on the notion of 
a 'sensible object/ to quote Newton's phrase. We may expand Newton's 
phrase, and state that the common sense of mankind conceives that all its 
notions ultimately refer to actual entities, or as Newton terms them, 
'sensible objects.' Newton, basing himself upon [112] current physical 
notions, conceived 'sensible objects' to be the material bodies to which 
the science of dynamics applies. He was then left with the antithesis be- 
tween 'sensible objects' and empty space. Newton, indeed, as a private 
opinion, conjectured that there is a material medium pervading space. 
But he also held that there might not be such a medium. For him the 
notion 'empty space'— that is, mere spatiality — had sense, conceived as 
an independent actual existence 'from infinity to infinity/ In this he 
differed from Descartes. Modern physics sides with Descartes. It has in- 
troduced the notion of the 'physical field.' Also the latest speculations tend 
to remove the sharp distinction between the 'occupied' portions of the 
field and the 'unoccupied' portion. Further, in these lectures (cf. Ch. Ill of 
Part II), a distinction is introduced, not explicitly in the mind either of 
'the vulgar' or of Newton. This distinction is that between (i) an actual 
entity, (ii) an enduring object, (hi) a corpuscular society, (iv) a non- 
corpuscular society, (v) a non-social nexus. A non-social nexus is what 
answers to the notion of 'chaos.' The extensive continuum is that general 
relational element in experience whereby the actual entities experienced, 
and that unit experience itself, are united in the solidarity of one common 
world. The actual entities atomize it, and thereby make real what was 
antecedently merely potential. The atomization of the extensive con- 
tinuum is also its temporalization; that is to say, it is the process of the 
becoming of actuality into what in itself is merely potential. The sys- 
tematic scheme, in its completeness embracing the actual past and the 
potential future, is prehended in the positive experience of each actual 
entity. In this sense, it is Kant's 'form of intuition'; but it is derived from 
the actual world qua datum, and thus is not 'pure' in Kant's sense of that 
term. It is not productive of the ordered world, but derivative from it. 
The prehension of this scheme is one more example that actual fact in- 
cludes in its own constitution [113] real potentiality which is referent 
beyond itself. The former example is 'appetition.' 

The Extensive Continuum 73 


Newton in his description of space and time has confused what is 'real' 
potentiality with what is actual fact. He has thereby been led to diverge 
from the judgment of 'the vulgar' who "conceive those quantities under no 
other notions but from the relation they bear to sensible objects."! The 
philosophy of organism starts by agreeing with 'the vulgar' except that the 
term 'sensible object' is replaced by 'actual entity'; so as to free our notions 
from participation in an epistemologicalf theory as to sense-perception. 
When we further consider how to adjust Newton's other descriptions to 
the organic theory, the surprising fact emerges that we must identify the 
atomized quantum of extension correlative to an actual entity, with New- 
ton's absolute place and absolute duration. Newton's proof that motion 
does not apply to absolute place, which in its nature is immovable, also 
holds. Thus an actual entity never moves: it is where it is and what it is. 
In order to emphasize this characteristic by a phrase connecting the notion 
of 'actual entity' more closely with our ordinary habits of thought, I will 
also use the term 'actual occasion' in the place of the term 'actual entity.' 
Thus the actual world is built up of actual occasions; and by the oncologi- 
cal principle whatever things there are in any sense of 'existence,' are de- 
rived by abstraction from actual occasions. I shall use the term 'event' in 
the more general sense of a nexus of actual occasions, inter-related in some 
determinate fashion in one extensive quantum. An actual occasion is the 
limiting type of an event with only one member. 

It is quite obvious that meanings have to be found for the notions of 
'motion' and of 'moving bodies.' For the present, this enquiry must be 
postponed to a later chapter [114] (cf. Part IV and also Ch. Ill of this 
Part). It is sufficient to say that a molecule in the sense of a moving body, 
with a history of local change, is not an actual occasion; it must therefore 
be some kind of nexus of actual occasions. In this sense it is an event, but 
not an actual occasion. The fundamental meaning of the notion of 
'change' is 'the difference between actual occasions comprised in some 
determinate event.' 

A further elucidation of the status of the extensive continuum in the 
organic philosophy is obtained by comparison with Descartes' doctrine of 
material bodies. It is at once evident that the organic theory is much 
closer to Descartes' views than to Newton's, On this topic Spinoza is prac- 
tically a logical systematization of Descartes, purging him of inconsis- 
tencies. But this attainment of logical coherence is obtained by empha- 
sizing just those elements in Descartes which the philosophy of organism 
rejects. In this respect, Spinoza perforins the same office for Descartes that 
Hume does for Locke. The philosophy of organism may be conceived as a 
recurrence to Descartes and to Locke, in respect to just those elements in 
their philosophies which are usually rejected by reason of their inconsis- 
tency with the elements which their successors developed. Thus the phi- 

74 Discussions and Applications 

losophy of organism is pluralistic in contrast with Spinoza's monism; and 
is a doctrine of experience prehending actualities, in contrast with Hume's 
sensationalist phenomenalism. 

First let us recur to Descartes at the stage of thought antecedent to his 
disastrous classification of substances into two species, bodily substance and 
mental substance. At the beginning of Meditation i, he writes: 
For example, there is the fact that I am here, seated by the fire, 
attired in a dressing gown, having this paper in my hands and other 
similar matters. And how could I deny that these hands and this body 
are mine, were it not perhaps that I compare myself to certain per- 
sons, devoid of sense. . . . But they are mad, and I should not [JJ5] 
be any thef less insane were I to follow examples so extravagant. 
At the same time I must remember that I am a man, and that con- 
sequently I am in the habit of sleeping, and in my dreams represent- 
ing to myself the same things or sometimes even less probable things, 
than do those who are insane in their waking moments. ... At the 
same time we must at least confess that the things which are repre- 
sented to us in sleep are like painted representations which can only 
have been formed as the counterparts of something real and true [ad 
similiiudinem rerum verarum], and that in this way those general 
things at least, i.e. eyes, a head, hands, and a whole body, are not 
imaginary things, but things really existent. . . . And for the same 
reason, although these general things, to wit, [a body], 6 eyes, a head, 
hands, and such like, may be imaginary, we are bound at the same 
time to confess that there are at least some other objects yet more 
simple and more universal, which are real and true [vera esse]; and of 
these just in the same way as with certain real colours, all these images 
of things which dwell in our thoughts, whether true and real or false 
and fantastic, are formed. 

To such a class of things pertains corporeal nature in general, and 
its extension, the figure of extended things, their quantity or magni- 
tude and number, as also the place in which they are, the time which 
measures their duration, and so on. . . . 

In Meditation II, after a slight recapitulation, he continues, speaking of 
Then without doubt I exist also if he deceives me, and let him 
deceive me as much as he will, he can never cause me to be nothing 
so long as I think that I am something. So that after having reflected 
well and carefully examined all things, we must come to the definite 
conclusion that this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true each 
time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it. 
[116} At the end of the quotation from Meditation J, Descartes uses the 

6 Haldane and Ross enclose in square brackets phrases appearing in the French 
version, and not in the Latin. I have compared with the Latin. 

The Extensive Continuum 75 

phrase res vera in the same sense as that in which I have used the term 
'actual/ It means 'existence' in the fullest sense of that term, beyond 
which there is no other. Descartes, indeed, would ascribe to God 'exis- 
tence' in a generically different sense. In the philosophy of organism, as 
here developed, God's existence is not generically different from that of 
other actual entities, except that he is 'primordial' in a sense to be grad- 
ually explained. 

Descartes does not explicitly frame the definition of actuality in terms 
of the ontological principle, as given in Section IVt of this chapter, that 
actual occasions form the ground from which all other types of existence 
are derivative and abstracted; but he practically formulates an equivalent in 
subject-predicate phraseology, when he writes: "For this reason, when we 
perceive any attribute, we therefore conclude that some existing thing or 
substance to which it may be attributed, is necessarily present." 7 For 
Descartes the word 'substance' is the equivalent of my phrase 'actual occa- 
sion.' I refrain from the term 'substance,' for one reason because it sug- 
gests the subject-predicate notion; and for another reason because Des- 
cartes and Locke permit their substances to undergo adventures of chang- 
ing qualifications, and thereby create difficulties. 

In the quotation from the second Meditation: "I am, I exist, is nec- 
essarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it,"f 
Descartes adopts the position that an act of experience is the primary type 
of actual occasion. But in his subsequent developments he assumes that 
his mental substances endure change. Here he goes beyond his argument. 
For each time he pronounces 'I am, I exist/ the actual occasion, which is 
the ego, is different; and the 'he' which is common to the two egos is an 
eternal object or, alternatively, the nexus of successive occasions. Also in 
the quotation from the first [117] Meditation he begins by appealing to an 
act of experience— "I am here, seated by the fire. ..." He then associates 
this act of experience with his body— "these hands and body are mine.*' 
He then finally appeals for some final notion of actual entities in the 
remarkable sentence: "And for the same reason, although these general 
things, to wit, [a body], eyes, a head, hands, and such like, may be imaginary, 
we are bound at the same time to confess that there are at least some 
other objects yet more simple and more universal, which are real and true; 
and of these ... all these images of things which dwell in our thoughts, 
whether true and real or false and fantastic, are formed." 

Notice the peculiarly intimate association with immediate experience 
which Descartes claims for his body, an association beyond the mere 
sense-perception of the contemporary world— "these hands and feet are 
mine." In the philosophy of organism this immediate association is the 
recognition of them as distinguishable data whose formal constitutions are 
immediately felt in the origination of experience. In this function the 

7 Principles of Philosophy, Part I, 52. 

76 Discussions and Applications 

animal body does not differ in principle from the rest of the past actual 
world; but it does differ in an intimacy of association by reason of which 
its spatial and temporal connections obtain some definition in the ex- 
perience of the subject. What is vague for the rest of the world has ob- 
tained some additional measure of distinctness for the bodily organs. But, 
in principle, it would be equally true to say, The actual world is mine.' 
Descartes also asserts that "objects yet more simple and more uni- 
versal, which are real and true" are what the "images of things which 
dwellf in our thoughts"! are formed of. This does not seem to accord 
with his theory of perception, of a later date, stated in his Principles, Part 
IV, 196, 197, 198. In the later theory the emphasis is on the judicium, in 
the sense of Inference/ and not in the sense of inspectio of realitas ob- 
jectiva. But it does accord with the organic theory, that the objectifications 
of other actual occasions form the given data from which an actual occa- 
[118] sion originates. He has also brought the body into its immediate 
association with the act of experience. Descartes, with Newton, assumes 
that the extensive continuum is actual in the full sense of being an actual 
entity. But he refrains from the additional material bodies which Newton 
provides. Also in his efforts to guard his representative 'ideas' from the 
fatal gap between mental symbol and actuality symbolized, he practically, 
in some sentences, expresses the doctrine of objectification here put for- 
ward. Thus: 
Hence the idea of the sun will be the sun itself existing in the 
mind, not indeed formally, as it exists in the sky, but objectively, 
i.e. in the way in which objects are wont to exist in the mind; and this 
mode of being is truly much less perfect than that in which things 
exist outside the mind, but it is not on that account mere nothing, 
as I have already said. 8 

Both Descartes and Locke, in order to close the gap between idea repre- 
senting and actual entity represented/ require this doctrine of 'the sun 
itself existing in the mind/ But though, as in this passage, they at times 
casually state it in order to push aside the epistemological difficulty, they 
neither of them live up to these admissions. They relapse into the tacit 
presupposition of the mind with its private ideas which are in fact qualities 
without intelligible connection with the entities represented. 

But if we take the doctrine of objectification seriously, the extensive 
continuum at once becomes the primary factor in objectification. It pro- 
vides the general scheme of extensive perspective which is exhibited in all 
the mutual objectifications by which actual entities prehend each other. 
Thus in itself, the extensive continuum is a scheme of real potentiality 
which must find exemplification t in the mutual prehension of all actual 
entities. It also finds exemplification in each actual entity considered 

8 Reply to Objections J: I have already quoted this passage in my Science and 
the* Modem Wodd f note to Ch. IV. 

The Extensive Continuum 77 

'formally/ In this sense, actual entities are extensive, [JJ9] since they arise 
out of a potentiality for division, which in actual fact is not divided (cf. 
Part IV). It is for this reason, as stated above, that the phrase 'actual 
occasion' is used in the place of 'actual entity/ 

Descartes' doctrine of the physical world as exhibiting an extensive 
plenum of actual entities is practically the same as the 'organic' doctrine. 
But Descartes' bodies have to move, and this presupposition introduces 
new obscurities. It is exactly at this point that Newton provides a clear 
conception in comparison with that of Descartes. In the 'organic' doctrine, 
motion is not attributable to an actual occasion. 

In the 'organic' theory, (i) there is only one type of temporal actual 
entity; (ii) each such actual entity is extensive; (iii) from the standpoint 
of any one actual entity, the 'given/ actual world is a nexus of actual en- 
tities, transforming the potentiality of the extensive scheme into a plenum 
of actual occasions; (iv) in this plenum, motion cannot be significantly 
attributed to any actual occasion; (v) the plenum is continuous in respect 
to the potentiality from which it arises, but each actual entity is atomic; 
(vi) the term 'actual occasion' is used synonymously t with 'actual entity'; 
but chiefly when its character of extensiveness has some direct relevance to 
the discussion, either extensiveness in the form of temporal extensiveness, 
that is to say 'duration/ or extensiveness in the form of spatial extension, 
or in the more complete signification of spatio-temporal extensiveness. 


The baseless metaphysical doctrine of 'undifferentiated endurance' is a 
subordinate derivative from the misapprehension of the proper character 
of the extensive scheme. 

In our perception of the contemporary world via presentational im- 
mediacy, nexus of actual entities are objectified for the percipient under 
the perspective of their characters of extensive continuity. In the percep- 
tion of a contemporary stone, for example, the separate indi- \120) viduality 
of each actual entity in the nexus constituting the stone is merged into the 
unity of the extensive plenum, which for Descartes and for common sense, 
is the stone. The complete objectification is effected by the generic exten- 
sive perspective of the stone, specialized into the specific perspective of 
some sense-datum, such as some definite colour, for example. Thus the 
immediate percept assumes the character of the quiet undifferentiated en- 
durance of the material stone, perceived by means of its quality of colour. 
This basic notion dominates language, and haunts both science and philos- 
ophy. Further, by an unfortunate application of the excellent maxim, that 
our conjectural explanation should always proceed by the utilization of a 
vera causa, whenever science or philosophy has ventured to extrapolate 
beyond the limits of the immediate deliverance of direct perception, a 
satisfactory explanation has always complied with the condition that sub- 
stances with undifferentiated endurance of essential attributes be pro- 

78 Discussions and Applications 

duced, and that activity be explained as the occasional modification of 
their accidental qualities and relations. Thus the imaginations of men are 
dominated by the quiet extensive stone with its relationships of positions, 
and its quality of colour—relationships and qualities which occasionally 
change. The stone, thus interpreted, guarantees the vera causa, and con- 
jectural explanations in science and philosophy follow its model. 

Thus in framing cosmological theory, the notion of continuous stuff with 
permanent attributes, enduring without differentiation, and retaining its 
self-identity through any stretch of time however small or large, has been 
fundamental. The stuff undergoes change in respect to accidental qualities 
and relations; but it is numerically self-identical in its character of one 
actual entity throughout its accidental adventures. The admission of this 
fundamental metaphysical concept has wrecked the various systems of 
pluralistic realism. 

This metaphysical concept has formed the basis of scientific materialism. 
For example, when the activities [121] associated with so-called empty 
space required scientific formulation, the scientists of the nineteenth cen- 
tury produced the materialistic ether as the ultimate substratum whose 
accidental adventures constituted these activities. 

But the interpretation of the stone, on which the whole concept is 
based, has proved to be entirely mistaken. In the first place, from the 
seventeenth century onwards the notion of the simple inherence of the 
colour in the stone has had to be given up. This introduces the further 
difficulty that it is the colour which is extended and only inferentially the 
stone, since now we have had to separate the colour from the stone. 
Secondly, the molecular theory has robbed the stone of its continuity, of 
its unity, and of its passiveness. The stone is now conceived as a society of 
separate molecules in violent agitation. But the metaphysical concepts, 
which had their origin in a mistake about the stone, were now applied to 
the individual molecules. Each atom was still a stuff which retained its self- 
identity and its essential attributes in any portion of time— however short, 
and however long— provided that it did not perish. The notion of the un- 
differentiated endurance of substances with essential attributes and with 
accidental adventures! was still applied. This is the root doctrine of ma- 
terialism: the substance, thus conceived, is the ultimate actual entity. 

But this materialistic concept has proved to be as mistaken for the atom 
as it was for the stone. 'The atom is only explicable as a society with ac- 
tivities involving rhythms with their definite periods. Again the concept 
shifted its application: protons and electrons were conceived as ma- 
terialistic electric charges whose activities could be construed as locomotive 
adventures. We are now approaching the limits of any reasonable certainty 
in our scientific knowledge; but again there is evidence that the concept 
may be mistaken. The mysterious quanta of energy have made their ap- 
pearance, derived, as it would seem, from the recesses of protons, or of 
electrons. Still worse for the concept, these quanta seem to dissolve [122] 

The Extensive Continuum 79 

into the vibrations of light. Also the material of the stars seems to be 
wasting itself in the production of the vibrations. 

Further, the quanta of energy are associated by a simple law with the 
periodic rhythms which we detect in the molecules. Thus the quanta are, 
themselves, in their own nature, somehow vibratory; but they emanate 
from the protons and electrons. Thus there is every reason to believe that 
rhythmic periods cannot be dissociated from the protonic and electronic 

The same concept has been applied in other connections where it even 
more obviously fails. It is said that 'men are rational/ This is palpably 
false: they are only intermittently rational—merely liable to rationality. 
Again the phrase 'Socrates is mortal' is only another way of saying that 
'perhaps he will die/ The intellect of Socrates is intermittent: he occa- 
sionally sleeps and he can be drugged or stunned. 

The simple notion of an enduring substance sustaining persistent quali- 
ties, either essentially or accidentally, expresses a useful abstract for many 
purposes of life. But whenever we try to use it as a fundamental statement 
of the nature of things, it proves itself mistaken. It arose from a mistake 
and has never succeeded in any of its applications. But it has had one 
success: it has entrenched itself in language, in Aristotelian logic, and in 
metaphysics. For its employment in language and in logic, there is— as 
stated above— a sound pragmatic defence. But in metaphysics the concept 
is sheer error. This error does not consist in the employment of the word 
'substance'; but in the employment of the notion of an actual entity which 
is characterized by essential qualities, and remains numerically one amidst 
the changes of accidental relations and of accidental qualities. The con- 
trary doctrine is that an actual entity never changes, and that it is the out- 
come of whatever can be ascribed to it in the way of qualitv or relationship. 
There then remain two alternatives for philosophy: (i) a monistic universe 
[123] with the illusion of change; and (ii) a pluralistic universe in which 
'change' means the diversities among the actual entities which belong to 
some one society of a definite type. 


We can now, in a preliminary way, summarize some of the agreements 
and disagreements between the philosophy of organism and the seven- 
teenth-century founders of the modern philosophic and scientific traditions. 

It is the basis of any realistic philosophy, that in perception there is a 
disclosure of objectified data, which are known as having a community 
with the immediate experience for which they are data. This 'community'* 
is a community of common activity involving mutual implication. This 
premise is asserted as a primary fact, implicitly assumed in every detail of 
our organization of life. It is implicitly asserted by Locke in his statement 
(II, XXIII, 7, heading), "Power, a great part of our complex ideas of 

80 Discussions and Applications 

substances ."t The philosophy of organism extends the Cartesian subjectiv- 
ism by affirming the 'ontological principle' and by construing it as the defi- 
nition of 'actuality/ This amounts to the assumption that each actual entity 
is a locus for the universe. Accordingly Descartes' other statement, that 
every attribute requires a substance,! is merely a special, limited example 
of this more general principle. 

Newton, in his treatment of space, transforms potentiality into actual fact, 
that is to say, into a creature, instead of a datum for creatures. According 
to the philosophy of organism, the extensive space-time continuum is the 
fundamental aspect of the limitation laid upon abstract potentiality by the 
actual world. A more complete rendering of this limited, 'real' potentiality 
is the 'physical field/ A new creation has to arise from the actual world as 
much as from pure potentiality: it arises from the total universe and not 
solely from its mere abstract elements. It also adds to that universe. Thus 
[124] every actual entity springs from that universe which there is for it. 
Causation is nothing else than one outcome of the principle that every 
actual entity has to house its actual world. 

According to Newton, a portion of space cannot move. We have to ask 
how this truth, obvious from Newton's point of view, takes shape in the 
organic theory. Instead of a region of space, we should consider a bit of the 
physical field. This bit, expressing one way in which the actual world in- 
volves the potentiality for a new creation, acquires the unity of an actual 
entity. The physical field is, in this way, atomized with definite divisions: it 
becomes a 'nexus' f of actualities. Such a quantum (i.e., each actual divi- 
sion) of the extensive continuum is the primary phase of a creature. This 
quantum is constituted by its totality of relationships and cannot move. 
Also the creature cannot have any external adventures, but only the in- 
ternal adventure of becoming. Its birth is its end. 

This is a theory of monads; but it differs from Leibniz's in that his 
monads change. In the organic theory, they merely become. Each monadic 
creature is a mode of the process of 'feeling' the world, of housing the 
world in one unit of complex feeling, in every way determinate. Such a 
unit is an 'actual occasion'; it is the ultimate creature derivative from the 
creative process. 

The term 'event' is used in a more genera] sense. An event is a nexus of 
actual occasions inter-related in some determinate fashion in some exten- 
sive quantum: it is either a nexus in its formal completeness, or it is an 
objectified nexus. One actual occasion is a limiting type of event. The 
most general sense of the meaning of change is 'the differences between 
actual occasions in one event.' For example, a molecule is a historic route 
of actual occasions; and such a route is an 'event.' Now the motion of the 
molecule is nothing else than the differences between the successive occa- 
sions of its life-history in respect to the extensive quanta from which they 
arise; \12S] and the changes in the molecule are the consequential dif- 
ferences in the actual occasions. 

The Extensive Continuum 81 

The organic doctrine is closer to Descartes than to Newton. Also it is 
close to Spinoza; but Spinoza bases his philosophy upon the monistic sub- 
stance, of which the actual occasions are inferior modes. The philosophy 
of organism inverts this point of view. 

As to the direct knowledge of the actual world as a datum for the 
immediacy of feeling, we first refer to Descartes in Meditation J, 'These 
hands and this body are mine' 7 ; also to Hume in his many assertions of the 
type, we see with our eyes. Such statements witness to direct knowledge of 
the antecedent functioning of the body in sense-perception. Both agree- 
though Hume more explicitly— that sense-perception of the contemporary 
world is accompanied by perception of the 'withness' of the body. It is 
this withness that makes the body the starting point for our knowledge of 
the circumambient world. We find here our direct knowledge of 'causal 
efficacy/ Hume and Descartes in their theory of direct perceptive knowl- 
edge dropped out this withness of the body; and thus confined perception 
to presentational immediacy. Santayana, in his doctrine of 'animal faith/ 
practically agrees with Hume and Descartes as to this withness of the 
actual world, including the body. Santayana also excludes our knowledge 
of it from givenness. Descartes calls it a certain kind of 'understanding'; 
Santayana calls it 'animal faith' provoked by 'shock'; and Hume calls it 
"practice. 7 

But we must— to avoid 'solipsism of the present moment' — include in 
direct perception something more than presentational immediacy. For the 
organic theory, the most primitive perception is 'feeling the body as func- 
tioning/ This is a feeling of the world in the past; it is the inheritance of 
the world as a complex of feeling; namely, it is the feeling of derived feel- 
ings. The later, sophisticated perception is 'feeling the contemporary 
world/ Even this presentational immediacy begins with [126] sense-presen- 
tation of the contemporary body. The body, however, is only a peculiarly 
intimate bit of the world. Just as Descartes said, 'this body is mine'; so he 
should have said, 'this actual world is mine/ My process of 'being myself 
is my origination from my possession of the world. 

It is obvious that there arise the questions of comparative relevance and 
of comparative vagueness, which constitute the perspective of the world. 
For example, the body is that portion of the world where, in causal per- 
ception, there is some distinct separation of regions. There is not, in causal 
perception, this distinctness for the past world external to the body. We 
eke out our knowledge by 'symbolic transference 7 from causal perception 
to sense-presentation, and vice versa. 

Those realists, who base themselves upon the notion of substance, do 
not get away from the notion of actual entities which move and change. 
From the point of view of the philosophy of organism, there is great 
merit in Newton's immovable receptacles. But for Newton they are eternal. 
Locke's notion of time hits the mark better: time is 'perpetually perish- 
ing.' In the organic philosophy an actual entity has 'perished* when it is 

82 Discussions and Applications 

complete. The pragmatic use of the actual entity, constituting its static 
life, lies in the future. The creature perishes and is immortal. The actual 
entities beyond it can say, 'It is mine/ But the possession imposes 

This conception of an actual entity in the fluent world is little more 
than an expansion of a sentence in the Timaeus: 9 "But that which is 
conceived by opinion with the help of sensation and without reason, is 
always in af process of becoming and perishing and never really is." Berg- 
son, in his protest against "spatialization," is only echoing Plato's phrase 
'and never really is/ 

9 28A;f Jowett's translation. Professor A. E. Taylor in his Commentary On 
Plato's Timaeus renders the word 8o£ a by 'belief or 'judgment' in the place of 
Jowett's word 'opinion/ Taylor's translation brings out the Platonic influence in 
Descartes' Meditations, namely Plato's 8o£ a is the Cartesian judicium. 



[127] In this, and in the next chapter, among modern philosophers we 
are chiefly concerned with Hume and with Kant, and among ancient phi- 
losophers with the Timaeus of Plato. These chapters are concerned with 
the allied problems of 'order in the universe/ of 'induction/ and of 'gen- 
eral truths/ The present chapter is wholly concerned with the topic of 
'order/ For the organic doctrine the problem of order assumes primary 
importance. No actual entity can rise beyond what the actual world as a 
datum from its standpoint— its actual world— allows it to be. Each such 
entity arises from a primary phase of the concrescence of objectifications 
which are in some respects settled: the basis of its experience is 'given/ 
Now the correlative of 'order' is 'disorder/ There can be no peculiar mean- 
ing in the notion of 'order' unless this contrast holds. Apart from it, 'order* 
must be a synonym for 'givenness/ But 'order' means more than 'given- 
ness/ though it presupposes 'givenness';t 'disorder' is also 'given/ Each 
actual entity requires a totality of 'givenness/ and each totality of 'given- 
ness' attains its measure of 'order/ 

Four grounds of 'order' at once emerge: 

(i) That 'order' in the actual world is differentiated from mere 
'givenness' by introduction of adaptation for the attainment of an end. 

(ii) That this end is concerned with the gradations of intensity in the 
satisfactions of actual entities (members of the nexus) in whose formal 
constitutions the nexus [128] (i.e., antecedent members of the nexus) in 
question is objectified. 

(iii) That the heightening of intensity arises from order such that the 
multiplicity of components in the nexus can enter explicit feeling as con- 
trasts, and are not dismissed into negative prehensions as incompatibilities. 

(iv) That 'intensity' in the formal constitution of a subject-superject 
involves 'appetition' in its objective functioning as superject. 

'Order' is a mere generic term: there can only be some definite specific 
'order/ not merely 'order' in the vague. Thus every definite total phase of 
'givenness' involves a reference to that specific 'order' which is its dominant 
ideal, and involves the specific 'disorder' due to its inclusion of 'given' 
components which exclude the attainment of the full ideal. The attain- 
ment is partial, and thus there is 'disorder'; but there is some attainment, 


84 Discussions and Applications 

and thus there is some 'order/ There is not just one ideal 'order' which 
all actual entities should attain and fail to attain . In each case there is an 
ideal peculiar to each particular actual entity, and arising from the domi- 
nant components in its phase of 'givenness.' This notion of 'dominance* 
will have to be discussed later in connection with the notion of the sys- 
tematic character of a 'cosmic epoch' and of the subordinate systematic 
characters of 'societies' included in a cosmic epoch. The notion of one 
ideal arises from the disastrous overmoralization of thought under the in- 
fluence of fanaticism, or pedantry. The notion of a dominant ideal peculiar 
to each actual entity is Platonic. 

It is notable that no biological science has been able to express itself 
apart from phraseology which is meaningless unless it refers to ideals proper 
to the organism in question. This aspect of the universe impressed itself 
on that great biologist and philosopher, Aristotle. His philosophy led to a 
wild overstressing of the notion of 'final causes'! during the Christian mid- 
dle ages; and thence, by a reaction, to the correlative overstressing of [129] 
the notion of 'efficient causes' during the modern scientific period. One 
task of a sound metaphysics is to exhibit final and efficient causes in their 
proper relation to each other. The necessity and the difficulty of this task 
are stressed by Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. 

Thus the notion of 'order' is bound up with the notion of an actual 
entity as involving an attainment which is a specific satisfaction. This satis- 
faction is the attainment of something individual to the entity in question. 
It cannot be construed as a component contributing to its own concres- 
cence; it is the ultimate fact, individual to the entity. The notion of 'satis- 
faction' is the notion of the 'entity as concrete' abstracted from the 'process 
of concrescence'; it is the outcome separated from the process, thereby 
losing the actuality of the atomic entity, which is both process and out- 
come. 'Satisfaction' provides the individual element in the composition of 
the actual entity— that element which has led to the definition of substance 
as 'requiring nothing but itself in order to exist.' But the 'satisfaction' is 
the 'superject' rather than the 'substance' or the 'subject.' It closes up the 
entity; and yet is the superject adding its character to the creativity whereby 
there is a becoming of entities superseding the one in question. The 
'formal' reality of the actuality in question belongs to its process of con- 
crescence and not to its 'satisfaction/ This is the sense in which the 
philosophy of organism interprets Plato's phrase 'and never really is'; for 
the superject can only be interpreted in terms of its 'objective immortality/ 

'Satisfaction' is a generic term: there are specific differences between 
the 'satisfactions' of different entities, including gradations of intensity. 
These specific differences can only be expressed by the analysis of the com- 
ponents in the concrescence out of which the actual entity arises. The in- 
tensity of satisfaction is promoted by the 'order' in the phases from which 
concrescence arises and through which it passes; it is enfeebled by the [130] 
'disorder/ The components in the concrescence are thus 'values' con- 

The Order of Nature 85 

tributary to the 'satisfaction/ The concrescence is thus the building up 
of a determinate 'satisfaction/ which constitutes the completion of the 
actual togetherness of the discrete components. The process of concres- 
cence terminates with the attainment of a fully determinate 'satisfaction'; 
and the creativity thereby passes over into the 'given' primary phase for the 
concrescence of other actual entities. This transcendence is thereby estab- 
lished when there is attainment of determinate 'satisfaction' completing 
the antecedent entity. Completion is the perishing of immediacy: 'It never 
really is/f 

No actual entity can be conscious of its own satisfaction; for such knowl- 
edge would be a component in the process, and would thereby alter the 
satisfaction. In respect to the entity in question the satisfaction can only 
be considered as a creative determination, by which the objectifications of 
the entity beyond itself are settled. In other words, the 'satisfaction' of an 
entity can only be discussed in terms of the usefulness of that entity. It is 
a qualification of creativity. The tone of feeling embodied in this satisfac- 
tion passes into the world beyond, by reason of these objectifications. The 
world is self-creative; and the actual entity as self-creating creature passes 
into its immortal function of part-creator of the transcendent world. In its 
self-creation the actual entity is guided by its ideal of itself as individual 
satisfaction and as transcendent creator. The enjoyment of this ideal is the 
'subjective aim/ by reason of which the actual entity is a determinate 

This subjective aim is not primarily intellectual; it is the lure for feeling. 
This lure for feeling is the germ of mind. Here I am using the term 'mind' 
to mean the complex of mental operations involved in the constitution of 
an actual entity. Mental operations do not necessarily involve conscious- 
ness. The concrescence, absorb- [131] ing the derived data into immediate 
privacy, consists in mating the data with ways of feeling provocative of the 
private synthesis. These subjective ways of feeling are not merely receptive 
of the data as alien facts; they clothe the dry bones with the flesh of a real 
being, emotional, purposive, appreciative. The miracle of creation is de- 
scribed in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel: "So I prophesied as he com- 
manded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up 
upon their feet, an exceeding great army." T 

The breath of feeling which creates a new individual fact has an origina- 
tion not wholly traceable to the mere data. It conforms to the data, in that 
it feels the data. But the how of feeling, though it is germane to the data, 
is not fully determined by the data. The relevant feeling is not settled, as 
to its inclusions or exclusions of 'subjective form/ by the data about which 
the feeling is concerned. The concrescent process is the elimination of 
these indeterminations of subjective forms. The quality of feeling has to be 
definite in respect to the eternal objects with which feeling clothes itself 

1 Ezekiel, xxxvii:10.t 

86 Discussions and Applications 

in its self-definition. It is a mode of ingression of eternal objects into the 
actual occasion. But this self-definition is analysable into two phases. First, 
the conceptual ingression of the eternal objects in the double r&le of being 
germane to the data and of being potentials for physical feeling. This is 
the ingression of an eternal object in the r61e of a conceptual lure for feel- 
ing. The second phase is the admission of the lure into the reality of feeling, 
or its rejection from this reality. The relevance of an eternal object in its 
role of lure is a fact inherent in the data. In this sense the eternal object 
is a constituent of the 'objective lure/ But the admission into, or rejection 
from, reality of conceptual feeling is the originative decision of the actual 
occasion. In this sense an actual occasion is causa sui. The subjective forms 
of the prehen- [132] sions in one phase of concrescence control the specific 
integrations of prehensions in later phases of that concrescence. 

An example of the lure for feeling is given by Hume himself. In the first 
section of his Treatise* he lays down the proposition, "That all our simple 
ideas in their first appearance, are derived from simple impressions ? which 
are correspondent to them, and which they exactly represent!' It must be 
remembered that in the organic philosophy the 'data of objectifications' are 
the nearest analogue to Hume's 'simple impressions/ Thus, modifying 
Hume's principle, the only lure to conceptual feeling is an exact con- 
formation to the qualities realized in the objectified actualities. But Hume 
(toe. eft.) notes an exception which carries with it the exact principle 
which has just been laid down, namely, the principle of relevant potentials, 
unrealized in the datum and yet constituent of an 'objective lure' by 
proximity to the datum. The point is that 'order' in the actual world in- 
troduces a derivative 'order' among eternal objects. Hume writes: 
There is. however, one contradictory phenomenon, which may prove, 
that it is not absolutely impossible for ideas to go before their corre- 
spondent impressions. I believe it will readily be allowed, that the sev- 
eral distinct ideas of colours, which enter by the eyes, orf those of 
sounds, which are conveyed by the hearing, are really different from 
each other, though, at the same time, resembling. Now, if this be true 
of different colours, it must be no less so of the different shades of the 
same colour, that each of them produces a distinct idea, independent of 
the rest. . . . Suppose, therefore, a person to have enjoyed his sight for 
thirty years, and to have become perfectly well acquainted with colours 
of all kinds, excepting one particular shade of blue, for instance, which 
it never hast been his fortune to meet with. Let all the different shades 
of that colour, except that single one, be placed before him, descending 
gradually from the deepest to the [133] lightest; it is plain, that he 
will perceive a blank, where that shade is wanting, and will be sensible 
that there is a greater distance in that place, betwixtt the contiguous 
colours, than in any other. Now I ask, whether it is possible for him, 
from his own imagination, to supply this deficiency, andt raise up to 
himself the idea of that particular shade, though it had never been 

The Order of Nature 87 

conveyed to him by his senses? I believe there are few but will be of 

opinion that he can; and this may serve as a proof, that the simple 

ideas are not always derived from the correspondent impressions; 

though the instance t is so particular and singular, that it is scarce 

worth our observing, and does not merit that, for it alone, we should 

alter our general maxim. 

This passage requires no comment, except for its final clause. Hume puts 
the 'instance' aside as being 'particular and singular'; it is exactly this esti- 
mate which is challenged by the philosophy of organism. The analysis of 
concrescence, here adopted, conceives that there is an origination of con- 
ceptual feeling, admitting or rejecting whatever is apt for feeling by reason 
of its germaneness to the basic data. The gradation of eternal objects in 
respect to this germaneness is the 'objective lure' for feeling; the concres- 
cent process admits a selection from this 'objective lure 7 into subjective 
efficiency. This is the subjective 'ideal of itself which guides the process. 
Also the basic data are constituted by the actual world which 'belongs to' 
that instance of concrescent process. Feelings are 'vectors'; for they feel 
what is there and transform it into what is here. 

The term 'potential difference' is an old one in physical science; and re- 
cently it has been introduced in physiology with a meaning diverse from, 
though generically allied to, its older meaning in physics. The ultimate fact 
in the constitution of an actual entity which suggests this term is the ob- 
jective lure for feeling. In the comparison of two actual entities, the con- 
trast be- \134] tween their objective lures is their 'potential difference'; and 
all other uses of this phrase are abstractions derivative from this ultimate 

The 'objectifications' of the actual entities in the actual world, relative to 
a definite actual entity, constitute the efficient causes out of which that 
actual entity arises; the 'subjective aim' at 'satisfaction' constitutes the final 
cause, or lure, whereby there is determinate concrescence; and that at- 
tained 'satisfaction' remains as an element in the content of creative pur- 
pose. There is, in this way, transcendence of the creativity; and this 
transcendence effects determinate objectifications for the renewal of the 
process in the concrescence of actualities beyond that satisfied superject. 

Thus an actual entity has a threefold! character: (i) it has the char- 
acter 'given' for it by the past; (ii) it has the subjective character aimed 
at in its process of concrescence; (iii) it has the superjective character, 
which is the pragmatic value of its specific satisfaction qualifying the 
transcendent creativity. 

In the case of the primordial actual entity, which is God, there is no 
past. Thus the ideal realization of conceptual feeling takes the precedence. 
God differs from other actual entities in rhe fact that Hume's principle, of 
the derivate character of conceptual feelings, does not hold for him. There 
is still, however, the same threefold character: (i) The 'primordial na- 
ture' of God is the concrescence of at unity of conceptual feelings, in- 

88 Discussions and Applications 

eluding among their data all eternal objects. The concrescence is directed 
by the subjective aim. that the subjective forms of the feelings shall be 
such as to constitute the eternal objects into relevant lures of feeling* sev- 
erally appropriate for all realizable basic conditions, (ii) The 'consequent 
nature' of God is the physical prehension by God of the actualities of the 
evolving universe. His! primordial nature directs such perspectives of ob- 
jectification that each novel actuality in the temporal world contributes 
such elements as it can to a realization in God [J 35] free from inhibitions 
of intensity by reason of discordance, (iii) The 'super jective nature' f of 
God is the character of the pragmatic value of his specific satisfaction 
qualifying the transcendent creativity in the various temporal instances. 

This is the conception of God, according to which he is considered as the 
outcome of creativity, as the foundation of order, and as the goad* to- 
wards novelty. 'Order' and 'novelty' are but the instruments of his sub- 
jective aim which is the intensification of 'formal immediacy.' It is to be 
noted that every actual entity, including God, is something individual for 
its own sake; and thereby transcends the rest of actuality. And also it is to 
be noted that every actual entity, including God, is a creature transcended 
by the creativity which it qualifies. A temporal occasion in respect to the 
second element of its character, and God in respect to the first element of 
his character satisfy Spinoza's definition of substance, that it is causa sui. 
To be causa sui means that the process of concrescence is its own reason 
for the decision in respect to the qualitative clothing of feelings. It is 
finally responsible for the decision by which any lure for feeling is ad- 
mitted to efficiency. The freedom inherent in the universe is constituted 
by this element of self-causation. 

In the subsequent discussion, 'actual entity' will be taken to mean a con- 
ditioned actual entity of the temporal world, unless God is expressly in- 
cluded in the discussion. The term 'actual occasion' will always exclude 
God from its scope. 

The philosophy of organism is the inversion of Kant's philosophy. The 
Critique of Pure Reason describes the process by which subjective data 
pass into the appearance of an objective world. Trie philosophy of organ- 
ism seeks to describe how objective data pass into subjective satisfaction, 
and how order in the objective data provides intensity in the subjective 
satisfaction. For Kant, the world emerges from the subject; for the philoso- 
phy of [J 36] organism, the subject emerges from the world— a 'super ject' 
rather than a 'subject.' The word 'object' thus means an entity which is a 
potentiality for being a component in feeling; and the word 'subject' means 
the entity constituted by the process of feeling, and including this process. 
The feeler is the unity emergent from its own feelings; and feelings are the 
details of the process intermediary between this unity and its many data. 
The data are the potentials for feeling; that is to say, they are objects. The 
process is the elimination of indeterminateness of feeling from the unity 
of one subjective experience. The degree of order in the datum is measured 

The Order of Nature 89 

by the degree of richness in the objective lure. The 'intensity 7 achieved be- 
longs to the subjective form of the satisfaction, 


It has been explained in the previous section that the notion of 'order' is 
primarily applicable to the objectified data for individual actual entities. 
It has been necessary to give a sketch of some categories applying to an 
actual entity in order to show how this can be the case. But there is a 
derivative sense of the term 'order/ which is more usually in our minds 
when we use that word. We speak of the 'order of nature/ meaning 
thereby the order reigning in that limited portion of the universe, 2 or even 
of the surface of the earth, which has come under our observation. We also 
speak of a man of orderly life, or of disorderly life. In any of these senses, 
the term 'order' evidently applies to the relations among themselves en- 
joyed by many actual entities which thereby form a society. The term 
'society' will always be restricted to mean a nexus of actual entities which 
are 'ordered' among themselves in the sense to be explained in this sec- 
tion. 3 [137] The point of a 'society,' as the term is here used, is that it is 
self-sustaining; in other words, that it is its own reason. Thus a society is 
more than a set of entities to which the same class-name applies: that is 
to say, it involves more than a merely mathematical conception of 'order.' 
To constitute a society, the class-name has got to apply to each member, 
by reason of genetic derivation from other members of that same society. 
The members of the society are alike because, by reason of their common 
character, they impose on other members of the society the conditions 
which lead to that likeness. 

This likeness 4 consists in the fact that (i) a certain element of 'form' 
is a contributory component to the individual satisfaction of each member 
of the society; and that (ii) the contribution by the element to the objecti- 
fication of any one member of the society for prehension by other mem- 
bers promotes its analogous reproduction in the satisfactions of those other 
members. Thus a set of entities is a society (i) in virtue of a 'defining 
characteristic' shared by its members, and (ii) in virtue of the presence of 
the defining characteristic being due to the environment provided by the 
society itself. 

For example, the life of** man is a historic route of actual occasions 
which in a marked degree— to be discussed more fully later—inherit from 
each other. That set of occasions, dating from his first acquirement of the 

2 Cf. The Fitness of the Environment, New York, Macmiilan, 1913, The 
Order of Nature, Harvard Univ. Press, 1917, and Blood, Ha ward Univ. Press, 
1928, Ch. 1, allt by Professor L. }. Henderson. These works are fundamental 
for anv discussion of this subject. 

3 Also cf.t Part I, Ch. Ill, Sect. II. 
4 Cf. Parti, Ch. Ill, Sect. II. 

90 Discussions and Applications 

Greek language and including all those occasions up to his loss of any 
adequate knowledge of that language, constitutes a society in reference to 
knowledge of the Greek language. Such knowledge is a common character- 
istic inherited from occasion to occasion along the historic route. This 
example has purposely been chosen for its reference to a somewhat trivial 
element of order, viz. knowledge of the Greek language; a more important 
character of order would have been that complex character in virtue of 
which a man is considered to be the same enduring person from birth to 
death. Also in this in- [138] stance the members of the society are arranged 
in a serial order by their genetic relations. Such a society is said 5 to possess 
'personal order/ 

Thus a society is, for each of its members, an environment with some 
element of order in it, persisting by reason of the genetic relations between 
its own members. Such an element of order is the order prevalent in the 

But there is no society in isolation. Every society must be considered 
with its background of a wider environment of actual entities, which also 
contribute their objectifications to which the members of the society must 
conform. Thus the given contributions of the environment must at least 
be permissive of the self-sustenance of the society. Also, in proportion to 
its importance, this background must contribute those general characters 
which the more special character of the society presupposes for its mem- 
bers. But this means that the environment, together with the society in 
question, must form a larger society in respect to some more general 
characters than those defining the society from which we started. Thus we 
arrive at the principle that every society requires a social background, of 
which it is itself a part. In reference to any given society the world of actual 
entities is to be conceived as forming a background in layers of social order, 
the defining characteristics becoming wider and more general as we widen 
the background. Of course, the remote actualities of the background have 
their own specific characteristics of various types of social order. But such 
specific characteristics have become irrelevant for the society in question 
by reason of the inhibitions and attenuations introduced by discordance, 
that is to say, by disorder. 

The metaphysical characteristics of an actual entity— in the proper gen- 
eral sense of 'metaphysics'— should be those which apply to all actual en- 
tities. It may be doubted whether such metaphysical concepts have ever 
[J 39] been formulated in their strict purity— even taking into account 
the most general principles of logic and of mathematics. We have to con- 
fine ourselves to societies sufficiently wide, and yet such that their defining 
characteristics cannot safely be ascribed to all actual entities which have 
been or may be. 

The causal laws which dominate a social environment are the product 

5 Cf. Part I, Ch. Ill, Sect. II. 

The Order of Nature 91 

of the defining characteristic of that society. But the society is only efficient 
through its individual members. Thus in a society, the members can only 
exist by reason of the laws which dominate the society, and the laws only 
come into being by reason of the analogous characters of the members 
of the society. 

But there is not any perfect attainment of an ideal order whereby the 
indefinite endurance of a society is secured. A society arises from disorder, 
where 'disorder 7 is defined by reference to the ideal for that society; the 
favourable background of a larger environment either itself decays, or 
ceases to favour the persistence of the society after some stage of growth: 
the society then ceases to reproduce its members, and finally after a stage 
of decay passes out of existence. Thus a system of 'laws' determining re- 
production in some portion of the universe gradually rises into dominance; 
it has its stage of endurance, and passes out of existence with the decay 
of the society from which it emanates. 

The arbitrary, as it were 'given/ elements in the laws of nature warn us 
that we are in a special cosmic epoch. Here the phrase 'cosmic epoch' is 
used to mean that widest society of actual entities whose immediate rele- 
vance to ourselves is traceable. This epoch is characterized by electronic 
and protonic actual entities, and by yet more ultimate actual entities which 
can be dimly discerned in the quanta of energy. Maxwell's equations of 
the electromagnetic field hold sway by reason of the throngs of electrons 
and of protons. Also each electron is a society of electronic occasions, and 
each proton is a soci- [MO] ety of protonic occasions. These occasions are 
the reasons for the electromagnetic laws; but their capacity for reproduc- 
tion, whereby each electron and each proton has a long life, and whereby 
new electrons and new protons come into being, is itself due to these same 
laws. But there is disorder in the sense that the laws are not perfectly 
obeyed, and that the reproduction is mingled with instances of failure. 
There is accordingly a gradual transition to new types of order, supervening 
upon a gradual rise into dominance on the part of the present natural 

But the arbitrary factors in the order of nature are not confined to the 
electromagnetic laws. There are the four dimensions of the spatio-temporal 
continuum, the geometrical axioms, even the mere dimensional character 
of the continuum— apart from the particular number of dimensions— and 
the fact of measurability. In later chapters (cf. Part IV) it will be evident 
that all these properties are additional to the more basic fact of extensive- 
ness; also, that even extensiveness allows of grades of specialization, arbi- 
trarily one way or another, antecedently to the introduction of any of these 
additional notions. By this discovery the logical and mathematical investi- 
gations of the last two centuries are very relevant to philosophy. For the 
cosmological theories of Descartes, Newton, Locke, Hume, and Kant were 
framed in ignorance of that fact. Indeed, in the Timaeus Plato seems to be 
more aware of it than any of his successors, in the sense that he frames 

92 Discussions and Applications 

statements whose meaning is elucidated by its explicit recognition. These 
'given 7 factors in geometry point to the wider society of which the elec- 
tronic cosmic epoch constitutes a fragment. 

A society does not in any sense create the complex of eternal objects 
which constitutes its defining characteristic. It only elicits that complex 
into importance for its members, and secures the reproduction of its mem- 
bership. In speaking of a society—unless the context ex- [141] pressly re- 
quires another interpretation— 'membership' will always refer to the actual 
occasions, and not to subordinate enduring objects composed of actual 
occasions such as the life of an electron or of a man. These latter societies 
are the strands of 'personal' order which enter into many societies; gen- 
erally speaking, whenever we are concerned with occupied space, we are 
dealing with this restricted type of corpuscular societies; and whenever 
we are thinking of the physical field in empty space, we are dealing with 
societies of the wider type. It seems as if the careers of waves of light illus- 
trate the transition from the more restricted type to the wider type. 

Thus our cosmic epoch is to be conceived primarily as a society of elec- 
tromagnetic occasions, including electronic and protonic occasions, and 
only occasionally— for the sake of brevity in statement—as a society of elec- 
trons and protons. There is the same distinction between thinking of an 
army either as a class of men, or as a class of regiments. 


Thus the physical relations, the geometrical relations of measurement, 
the dimensional relations, and the various grades of extensive relations, 
involved in the physical and geometrical theory of nature, are derivative 
from a series of societies of increasing width of prevalence, the more spe- 
cial societies being included in the wider societies. This situation consti- 
tutes the physical and geometrical order of nature. Beyond these societies 
there is disorder, where 'disorder' is a relative term expressing the lack of 
importance possessed by the defining characteristics of the societies in 
question beyond their own bounds. When those societies decay, it will not 
mean that their defining characteristics cease to exist; but that they lapse 
into unimportance for the actual entities in question. The term 'disorder' 
refers to a society only partially influential in impressing its characteristics 
in the [142] form of prevalent laws. This doctrine, that order is a social 
product, appears in modern science as the statistical theory of the laws of 
nature, and in the emphasis on genetic relation. 

But there may evidently be a state in which there are no prevalent so- 
cieties securing any congruent unity of effect. This is a state of chaotic 
disorder; it is disorder approaching an absolute sense of that term. In such 
an ideal state, what is 'given' for any actual entity is the outcome of 
thwarting, contrary decisions from the settled world. Chaotic disorder 
means lack of dominant definition of compatible contrasts in the satisfac- 

The Order of Nature 93 

tions attained, and consequent enfeeblement of intensity. It means the 
lapse towards slighter actuality. It is a natural figure of speech, but only 
a figure of speech, to conceive a slighter actuality as being an approach 
towards nonentity. But you cannot approach nothing; for there is nothing 
to approach. It is an approach towards the futility of being a faint compro- 
mise between contrary reasons. The dominance of societies, harmoniously 
requiring each other, is the essential condition for depth of satisfaction. 

The Timaeus of Plato, and the Scholium of Newton— the latter already 
in large part quoted— are the two statements of cosmological theory which 
have had the chief influence on Western thought. To the modern reader, 
the Timaeus, considered as a statement of scientific details, is in compar- 
ison with the Scholium simply foolish. But what it lacks in superficial de- 
tail, it makes up for by its philosophic depth. If it be read as an allegory, 
it conveys profound truth; whereas the Scholium is an immensely able 
statement of details which, although abstract and inadequate as a philoso- 
phy, can within certain limits be thoroughly trusted for the deduction of 
truths at the same level of abstraction as itself. The penalty of its philo- 
sophical deficiency is that the Scholium conveys no hint of the limits of 
its own application. The practical effect is that the readers, and almost 
certainly Newton himself, so construe its meaning as to fall into [143} what 
I have elsewhere 6 termed the 'fallacy of misplaced concreteness/ It is the 
office of metaphysics to determine the limits of the applicability of such 
abstract notions. 

The Scholium betrays its abstractness by affording no hint of that aspect 
of self-production, of generation, of cf>6ai<;, of natura naturans, which is 
so prominent in nature. For the Scholium, nature is merely, and com- 
pletely, there, externally designed and obedient. The full sweep of the 
modern doctrine of evolution would have confused the Newton of the 
Scholium, but would have enlightened the Plato of the Timaeus. So far 
as Newton is concerned, we have his own word for this statement. In a 
letter to Bentley, he writes: "When I wrote my treatise about our system, 
I had an eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for 
the belief of a Deity; . . ." 7 The concept in Newton's mind is that of a 
fully articulated system requiring a definite supernatural origin with that 
articulation. This is the form of the cosmological argument, now generally 
abandoned as invalid; because our notion of causation concerns the rela- 
tions of states of things within the actual world, and can only be illegit- 
imately extended to a transcendent derivation. The notion of God, which 
will be discussed later (cf. Part V), is that of an actual entity immanent 
in the actual world, but transcending any finite cosmic epoch — a being at 
once actual, eternal, immanent, and transcendent. The transcendence of 

6 Cf. Science and the\ Modern World, Ch. III. 

7 This quotation is taken from Jebb's Life of Bentley, Ch. II. The Life is pub- 
lished in the English Men of Letters series. 

94 Discussions and Applications 

God is not peculiar to him. Every actual entity, in virtue ot its novelty, 
transcends its universe, God included. 

In the Scholium, space and time, with all their current mathematical 
properties, are ready-made for the material masses; the material masses are 
ready-made for the 'forces' which constitute their action and reaction; and 
space, and time, and material masses, and forces, are [144] alike ready- 
made for the initial motions which the Deity impresses throughout the 
universe. It is not possible to extract from the Scholium— construed with 
misplaced concreteness— either a theism, or an atheism, or an epistemology, 
which can survive a comparison with the facts. This is the inescapable 
conclusion to be inferred from Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Re- 
ligion. Biology is also reduced to a mystery; and finally physics itself has 
now reached a stage of experimental knowledge inexplicable in terms of 
the categories of the Scholium. 

In the Timaeus, there are many phrases and statements which find their 
final lucid expression in the Scholium. While noting this concurrence of 
the two great cosmological documents guiding Western thought, it can- 
not be too clearly understood that, within its limits of abstraction, what 
the Scholium says is true, and that it is expressed with the lucidity of 
genius. Thus any cosmological document which cannot be read as an inter- 
pretation of the Scholium is worthless. But there is another side to the 
Timaeus which finds no analogy in the Scholium. In general terms, this 
side of the Timaeus may be termed its metaphysical character, that is to 
say, its endeavour to connect the behaviour of things with the formal na- 
ture of things. The behaviour apart from the things is abstract, and so are 
the things apart from their behaviour. Newton— wisely, for his purposes- 
made this abstraction which the Timaeus endeavours to avoid. 

In the first place, the Timaeus connects behaviour with the ultimate 
molecular characters of the actual entities. Plato conceives the notion of 
definite societies of actual molecular entities, each society with its de- 
fining characteristics. He does not conceive this assemblage of societies as 
causa sui. But he does conceive it as the work of subordinate deities, who 
are the animating principles of those departments of nature. In Greek 
thought, either poetic or philosophic, the separation between the cpOoiq 
and such deities had not that absolute character which it has for us who 
have inherited the Semitic Jehovah. 

[J 45] Newton could have accepted a molecular theory as easily as Plato, 
but there is this difference between them: Newton would have been sur- 
prised at the modern quantum theory and at the dissolution of quanta into 
vibrations; Plato would have expected it. While we note the many things 
said by Plato in the Timaeus which are now foolishness, we must also give 
him credit for that aspect of his teaching in which he was two thousand 
years ahead of his time. Plato accounted for the sharp-cut differences be- 
tween kinds of natural things, by assuming an approximation of the mole- 

The Order of Nature 95 

cules of the fundamental kinds respectively to the mathematical forms of 
the regular solids. He also assumed that certain qualitative contrasts in oc- 
currences, such as that between musical notes, depended on the participa- 
tion of these occurrences in some of the simpler ratios between integral 
numbers. He thus obtained a reason why there should be an approxima- 
tion to sharp-cut differences between kinds of molecules, and why there 
should be sharp-cut relations of harmony standing out amid dissonance. 
Thus 'contrast'— as the opposite of incompatibility—depends on a certain 
simplicity of circumstance; but the higher contrasts depend on the assem- 
blage of a multiplicity of lower contrasts, this assemblage again exhibiting 
higher types of simplicity. 

It is well to remember that the modern quantum theory, + with its sur- 
prises in dealing with the atom, is only the latest instance of a well-marked 
character of nature, which in each particular instance is only explained by 
some ad hoc dogmatic assumption. The theory of biological evolution 
would not in itself lead us to expect the sharply distinguished genera and 
species which we find in nature. There might be an occasional bunching of 
individuals round certain typical forms; but there is no explanation of the 
almost complete absence of intermediate forms. Again Newton's Scholium 
gives no hint of the ninety-two possibilities for atoms, or of the limited 
number of ways in which atoms can be combined so as to form molecules. 
Physicists are now explaining these [J 46] chemical facts by means of con- 
ceptions which Plato would have welcomed. 

There is another point in which the organic philosophy only repeats 
Plato. In the Timaeus the origin of the present cosmic epoch is traced back 
to an aboriginal disorder, chaotic according to our ideals. This is the evolu- 
tionary doctrine of the philosophy of organism. Plato's notion has puz- 
zled critics who are obsessed with the Semitic 8 theory of a wholly tran- 
scendent God creating out of nothing an accidental universe. Newton held 
the Semitic theory. The Scholium made no provision for the evolution of 
matter— very naturally, since the topic lay outside its scope. The result has 
been that the non-evolution of matter has been a tacit presupposition 
throughout modern thought. Until the last few years the sole alternatives 
were: either the material universe, with its present type of order, is eternal; 
or else it came into being, and will pass out of being, according to the fiat 
of Jehovah. Thus, on all sides, Plato's allegory of the evolution of a new 
type of order based on new types of dominant societies became a daydream, 
puzzling to commentators. 

Milton, curiously enough, in his Paradise Lost wavers between the 
Timaeus and the Semitic doctrine. This is only another instance of the 
intermixture of classical and Hebrew notions on which his charm of 

8 The book of Genesis is too primitive to bear upon this point. 

96 Discussions and Applications 

thought depends. In the description of Satan's journey across Chaos, Satan 

The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark 

Illimitable ocean, without bound, 

Without dimension, where length, breadth and highth, 

And time and place are lost; where eldest Night f 

And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 

Eternal anarchy amidst the noise 

Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. 9 

Milton is here performing for Plato the same poetic service that Lucre- 
tius performed for Democritus—with [147] less justification, since Plato 
was quite capable of being his own poet. Also the fact of Satan's journey 
helped to evolve order; for he left a permanent track, useful for the devils 
and the damned. 

The appeal to Plato in this section has been an appeal to the facts 
against the modes of expression prevalent in the last few centuries. These 
recent modes of expression are partly the outcome of a mixture of theology 
and philosophy, and are partly due to the Newtonian physics, no longer 
accepted as a fundamental statement. But language and thought have been 
framed according to that mould; and it is necessary to remind ourselves 
that this is not the way in which the world has been described by some of 
the greatest intellects. Both for Plato and for Aristotle the process of the 
actual world has been conceived as a real incoming of forms into real po- 
tentiality, issuing into that real togetherness which is an actual thing. 
Also, for the Timaeus, the creation of the world is the incoming of a type 
of order establishing a cosmic epoch. It is not the beginning of matter of 
fact, but the incoming of a certain type of social order. 


The remainder of this chapter will be devoted to a discussion— largely 
conjectural— of the hierarchy of societies composing our present epoch. In 
this way, the preceding discussion of 'order' may be elucidated. It is to be 
carefully noted that we are now deserting metaphysical generality. We shall 
be considering the more special possibilities of explanation consistent with 
our general cosmological doctrine, but not necessitated by it. 

The physical world is bound together by a general type of relatedness 
which constitutes it into an extensive continuum. When we analyse the 
properties of this continuum we discover that they fall into two classes, of 
which one— the more special— presupposes the other— the more general. 10 
The more general type of properties [148] expresses the mere fact of 'ex- 
tensive connection/ of 'whole and part/ of various types of 'geometrical 

9 Paradise Lost, Bk. II. 

10 Cf. Part IV for a detailed discussion. 

The Order of Nature 97 

elements' derivable by 'extensive abstraction ; but excluding the introduc- 
tion of more special properties by which straight lines are definable xl and 
measurability thereby introduced. 

In these general properties of extensive connection, we discern the de- 
fining characteristic of a vast nexus extending far beyond our immediate 
cosmic epoch. It contains in itself other epochs, with more particular 
characteristics incompatible with each other. Then from the standpoint of 
our present epoch, the fundamental society in so far as it transcends our 
own epoch seems a vast confusion mitigated by the few, faint elements of 
order contained in its own defining characteristic of 'extensive connection. 7 
We cannot discriminate its other epochs of vigorous order, and we merely 
conceive it as harbouring the faint flush of the dawn of order in our own 
epoch. This ultimate, vast society constitutes the whole environment within 
which our epoch is set, so far as systematic characteristics are discernible 
by us in our present stage of development. In the future the growth of 
theory may endow our successors with keener powers of discernment. 

Our logical analysis, in company with immediate intuition (inspectio), 
enables us to discern a more special society within the society of pure ex- 
tension. This is the 'geometrical 7 society. In this society 12 those specialized 
relationships hold, in virtue of which straight lines are defined. Systematic 
geometry is illustrated in such a geometrical society; and metrical rela- 
tionships can be defined in terms of the analogies of function within the 
scheme of any one systematic geometry. These 'analogies of function 7 are 
what is meant by the notion of 'congruence. 7 This notion is nonsense apart 
from a systematic geometry. The inclusion of extensive quantity [149] 
among fundamental categoreal notions is a complete mistake. This notion 
is definable in terms of each systematic geometry finding its application in a 
geometrical society. It is to be noticed that a systematic geometry is deter- 
mined by the definition of straight lines applicable to the society in ques- 
tion. Contrary to the general opinio^ this definition is possible in inde- 
pendence of the notion of 'measurement. 7 It cannot however be proved 
that in the same geometrical society there may not be competing families 
of loci with equal claims to the status of being a complete family of straight 

Given a family of straight lines, expressing a system of relatedness in a 
'geometric 7 society, the notion of 'congruence 7 and thence of 'measurement 7 
is now determinable in a systematic way throughout the society. But again 
in this case there certainly are competing systems of measurement. Hence 
in connection with each family of straight lines— allowing there be more 
than one such family— there are alternative systems 13 of metrical geom- 

^ Cf. Part IV, Chs.t III, IV, V. 

12 Cf . Part IV, especially Chs. Ill, IV, V. 

13 The existence of alternative systems was demonstrated by Cayley in his 
"Sixth Memoir on Quantics" in Transactions of the Royal Society, 1859.t 

98 Discussions and Applications 

etry, no one system being more fundamental than the other. Our present 
cosmic epoch is formed by an 'electromagnetic 7 society, which is a more 
special society contained within the geometric society. In this society yet 
more special defining characteristics obtain. These characteristics presup- 
pose those of the two wider societies within which the 'electromagnetic' 
society is contained. But in the ''electromagnetic' society the ambiguity as 
to the relative importance of competing families of straight lines (if there 
be such competing families), and the ambiguity as to the relative im- 
portance of competing definitions of congruence, are determined in favour 
of one family and one 14 congruence-definition. This determination is 
effected by an additional set of physical relationships throughout the so- 
ciety. But this set has lost [ISO] its merely systematic character because it 
constitutes our neighbourhood. These relationships involve components ex- 
pressive of certain individual diversities, and identities between the occa- 
sions which are the members of the nexus. But these diversities and iden- 
tities are correlated according to a systematic law expressible in terms of the 
systematic measurements derived from the geometric nexus. We here 
arrive at the notion of physical quantities which vary from individual to 
individual; this is the notion of the systematization of individual differ- 
ences, the notion of Taw/ 

It is the ideal of mathematical physicists to formulate this systematic 
law in its complete generality for our epoch. It is sufficient for our purposes 
to indicate the presumed character of this law by naming the members of 
the society 'electromagnetic occasions/ Thus our present epoch is domi- 
nated by a society of electromagnetic occasions. In so far as this dominance 
approaches completeness, the systematic law which physics seeks is ab- 
solutely dominant. In so far as the dominance is incomplete, the obedience 
is a statistical fact with its corresponding lapses. 

The electromagnetic society exhibits the physical electromagnetic field 
which is the topic of physical science. The members of this nexus are the 
electromagnetic occasions. 

But in its turn, this electromagnetic society would provide no adequate 
order for the production of individual occasions realizing peculiar 'inten- 
sities 7 of experience unless it were pervaded by more special societies, 
vehicles of such order. The physical world exhibits a bewildering com- 
plexity of such societies, favouring each other, competing with each other. 

The most general examples of such societies are the regular trains of 
waves, individual electrons, protons, individual molecules, societies of 
molecules such as inorganic bodies, living cells, and societies of cells such 
as vegetable and animal bodies. 

14 The transformations into an indefinite variety of coordinates, to which the 
'tensor theory' refers, all presuppose one congruence-definition. t The invariance 
of the Einsteinian *ds' expresses this fact. 

The Order of Nature 99 


[151] It is obvious that the simple classification (cf. Part I, Ch. Ill, Sect. 
II) of societies into 'enduring objects/ 'corpuscular societies/ and 'non- 
corpuscular societies' requires amplification. The notion of a society which 
includes subordinate societies and nexus with a definite pattern of struc- 
tural inter-relations f must be introduced. Such societies will be termed 

A structured society as a whole provides a favourable environment for 
the subordinate societies which it harbours within itself. Also the whole 
society must be set in a wider environment permissive of its continuance. 
Some of the component groups of occasions in a structured society can be 
termed 'subordinate societies/ But other such groups must be given the 
wider designation of 'subordinate nexus/ The distinction arises because in 
some instances a group of occasions, such as ? for example, a particular en- 
during entity, could have retained the dominant features of its defining 
characteristic in the general environment, apart from the structured society. 
It would have lost some features; in other words, the analogous sort of 
enduring entity in the general environment is, in its mode of definiteness, 
not quite identical with the enduring entity within the structured environ- 
ment. But, abstracting such additional details from the generalized de- 
fining characteristic, the enduring object with that generalized character- 
istic may be conceived as independent of the structured society within 
which it finds itself. t For example, we speak of a molecule within a living 
cell, because its general molecular features are independent of the environ- 
ment of the cell. Thus a molecule is a subordinate society in the structured 
society which we call the 'living cell/ 

But there may be other nexus included in a structured society which, 
excepting the general systematic characteristics of the external environ- 
ment, present no features capable of genetically sustaining themselves apart 
from [152] the special environment provided by that structured society. 
It is misleading, therefore, to term such a nexus a 'society' when it is be- 
ing considered in abstraction from the whole structured society. In such an 
abstraction it can be assigned no 'social' features. Recurring to the example 
of a living cell, it will be argued that the occasions composing the 'empty 7 
space within the cell exhibit special features which analogous occasions out- 
side the cell are devoid of. Thus the nexus, which is the empty space within 
a living cell, is called a 'subordinate nexus/ but not a 'subordinate society/ 

Molecules are structured societies, and so in all probability are separate 
electrons and protons. Crystals are structured societies. But gases are not 
structured societies in any important sense of that term; although their 
individual molecules are structured societies. 

It must be remembered that each individual occasion within a special 
form of society includes features which do not occur in analogous occasions 

100 Discussions and Applications 

in the external environment. The first stage of systematic investigation 
must always be the identification of analogies between occasions within the 
society and occasions without it. The second stage is constituted by the 
more subtle procedure of noting the differences between behaviour within 
and without the society, differences t of behaviour exhibited by occasions 
which also have close analogies to each other. The history of science is 
marked by the vehement, dogmatic denial of such differences, until they 
are found out. 

An obvious instance of such distinction of behaviour is afforded by the 
notion of the deformation of the shape of an electron according to varia- 
tions in its physical situation. 

A 'structured society 7 may be more or less 'complex' in respect to the 
multiplicity of its associated sub-societies and sub-nexus and to the intricacy 
of their structural pattern. 

A structured society which is highly complex can be [153] correspond- 
ingly favourable to intensity of satisfaction for certain sets of its com- 
ponent members. This intensity arises by reason of the ordered complexity 
of the contrasts which the society stages for these components.! 

The structural relations gather intensity from this intensity in the in- 
dividual experiences. Thus the growth of a complex structured society 
exemplifies the general purpose pervading nature. The mere complexity of 
givenness which procures incompatibilities has been superseded by the 
complexity of order which procures contrasts. 


The doctrine that every society requires a wider social environment 
leads to the distinction that a society may be more or less 'stabilized' in 
reference to certain sorts of changes in that environment. A society is 
'stabilized' in reference to a species of change when it can persist through 
an environment whose relevant parts exhibit that sort of change. If the 
society would cease to persist through an environment with that sort of 
heterogeneity, then the society is in that respect 'unstable/ A complex so- 
ciety which is stable provided that the environment exhibits certain fea- 
tures t is said to be 'specialized 7 in respect to those features. The notion of 
'specialization 7 seems to include both that of 'complexity 7 and that of 
strictly conditioned 'stability/ 

An unspecialized society can survive through important changes in its 
environment. This means that it can take on different functions in respect 
to its relationship to a changing environment. In general the defining char- 
acteristic of such a society will not include any particular determination 
of structural pattern. By reason of this flexibility of structural pattern, the 
society can adopt that special pattern adapted to the circumstances of the 
moment. Thus an unspecialized society is apt to be deficient in structural 
pattern, when viewed as a whole. 

The Order of Nature 101 

[154] Thus in general an unspecialized society does not secure conditions 
favourable for intensity of satisfaction among its members, whereas t a 
structured society with a high grade of complexity will in general be de- 
ficient in survival value. In other words, such societies will in general be 
'specialized' in the sense of requiring a very special sort of environment. 

Thus the problem t for Nature is the production of societies which are 
'structured' with a high 'complexity/ and which are at the same time 'un- 
specialized. 7 In this way, intensity is mated with survival. 


There are two ways in which structured societies have solved this prob- 
lem. Both ways depend on that enhancement of the mental pole, which 
is a factor in intensity of experience. One way is by eliciting a massive 
average objectification of a nexus, while eliminating the detailed diversities 
of the various members of the nexus in question. This method, in fact, 
employs the device of blocking out unwelcome detail. It depends on the 
fundamental truth that objectification is abstraction. It utilizes this abstrac- 
tion inherent in objectification so as to dismiss the thwarting elements of a 
nexus into negative prehensions. At the same time the complex intensity 
in the structured society is supported by the massive objectifications of the 
many environmental nexus, each in its unity as one nexus, and not in its 
multiplicity as many actual occasions. 

This mode of solution requires the intervention of mentality operating in 
accordance with the Category of Transmutation (i.e., Categoreal Obliga- 
tion VI ) . It ignores diversity of detail by overwhelming the nexus by means 
of some congenial uniformity which pervades it. The environment may 
then change indefinitely so far as concerns the ignored details— so long as 
they can be ignored. 

The close association of all physical bodies, organic and [155] inorganic 
alike, with 'presented loci' definable 15 by straight lines, suggests that this 
development of mentality is characteristic of the actual occasions which 
make up the structured societies which we know as 'material bodies; This 
close association is evidenced by the importance of 'acceleration' in the 
science of dynamics.! For 'acceleration 7 is nothing else than a mode of 
estimating the shift from one family of 'presented loci' to another such 
family (cf. Part IV). 

Such mentality represents the first grade of ascent beyond the mere re- 
productive stage which employs nothing more than the Category of Con- 
ceptual Reproduction (i.e., Categoreal Obligation IV). There is some 
initiative of conceptual integration, but no originality in conceptual pre- 
hension. This initiative belongs to the Category of Transmutation, and the 
excluded originality belongs to the Category of Reversion. 

15 Cf. Ch. IV of this Partt and also Part IV. 

102 Discussions and Applications 

These material bodies belong to the lowest grade of structured societies 
which are obvious to our gross apprehensions. They comprise societies of 
various types of complexity— crystals, rocks, planets, and suns. Such bodies 
are easily the most long-lived of the structured societies known to us, 
capable of being traced through their individual life-histories. 

The second way of solving the problem is by an initiative in conceptual 
prehensions, i.e., in appetition. The purpose of this initiative is to receive 
the novel elements of the environment into explicit feelings with such sub- 
jective forms as conciliate them with the complex experiences proper to 
members of the structured society. Thus in each concrescent occasion its 
subjective aim originates novelty to match the novelty of the environment. 

In the case of the higher organisms, this conceptual initiative amounts to 
thinking about the diverse experiences; in the case of lower organisms,! this 
conceptual initiative merely amounts to thoughtless adjustment of aesthetic 
emphasis in obedience to an ideal of harmony. [156] In either case the 
creative determination which transcends the occasion in question has been 
deflected by an impulse original to that occasion. This deflection in general 
originates a self-preservative reaction throughout the whole society. It may 
be unfortunate or inadequate; and in the case of persistent failure we are 
in the province of pathology. 

This second mode of solution also presupposes the former mode. Thus 
the Categories of Conceptual Reversion and of Transmutation are both 
called into play. 

Structured societies in which the second mode of solution has im- 
portance are termed 'living/ It is obvious that a structured society may have 
more or less 'life/ and that there is no absolute gap between living' and 
'non-living 7 societies. For certain purposes, whatever 'life' there is in a 
society may be important; and for other purposes, unimportant. 

A structured society in which the second mode is unimportant, and the 
first mode is important will be termed 'inorganic' 

In accordance with this doctrine of life, 7 the primary meaning of 'life' 
is the origination of conceptual novelty— novelty of appetition. Such origi- 
nation can only occur in accordance with the Category of Reversion. Thus 
a society is only to be termed 'living' in a derivative sense. A 'living society' 
is one which includes some 'living occasions.' Thus a society may be more 
or less 'living,' according to the prevalence in it of living occasions. Also 
an occasion may be more or less living according to the relative importance 
of the novel factors in its final satisfaction. 

Thus the two ways in which dominant members of structured societies 
secure stability amid environmental novelties are (i) elimination of diver- 
sities of detail, and (ii) origination of novelties of conceptual reaction. As 
the result, there is withdrawal or addition of those details of emphasis 
whereby the subjective aim directs the [157] integration of prehensions in 
the concrescent phases of dominant members. 

The Order of Nature 103 


There is yet another factor in 'living 7 societies which requires more de- 
tached analysis. A structured society consists in the patterned intertwining 
of various nexus with markedly diverse defining characteristics. Some of 
these nexus are of lower types than others, and some will be of markedly 
higher types. There will be the 'subservient' nexus and the 'regnant 7 nexus 
within the same structured society. This structured society will provide the 
immediate environment which sustains each of its sub-societies, subservient 
and regnant alike. In a living society only some of its nexus will be such 
that the mental poles of all their members have any original reactions. 
These will be its 'entirely living 7 nexus, and in practice a society is only 
called 'living 7 when such nexus are regnant. Thus a living society involves 
nexus which are 'inorganic/ and nexus which are inorganic do not need 
the protection of the whole 'living 7 society for their survival in a changing 
external I environment. Such nexus are societies. But 'entirely living 7 nexus 
do require such protection, if they are to survive. According to this con- 
jectural theory, an 'entirely living 7 nexus is not a 'society. 7 This is the theory 
of the animal body, including a unicellular body as a particular instance. 
A complex inorganic system of interaction is built up for the protection of 
the 'entirely living 7 nexus, and the originative actions of the living elements 
are protective of the whole system. On the other hand, the reactions! of 
the whole system provide the intimate environment required by the 'en- 
tirely living 7 nexus. We do not know of any living society devoid of its sub- 
servient apparatus of inorganic societies. 

'Physical Physiology deals with the subservient inorganic apparatus; and 
'Psychological Physiology 7 seeks to deal with 'entirely living 7 nexus, partly 
in abstraction [158] from the inorganic apparatus, and partly in respect to 
their response to the inorganic apparatus, and partly in regard to their 
response to each other. Physical Physiology has, in the last century, estab- 
lished itself as a unified science; Psychological Physiology is still in the 
process of incubation. 

It must be remembered that an integral living society, as we know it, not 
only includes the subservient inorganic apparatus, but also includes many 
living nexus,t at least one for each 'cell/ 


It will throw light upon the cosmology of the philosophy of organism to 
conjecture some fundamental principles of Psychological Physiology as 
suggested by that cosmology and by the preceding conjectures concerning 
the 'societies 7 of our epoch. These principles are not necessitated by this 
cosmology; but they seem to be the simplest principles which are both 
consonant with that cosmology, and also fit the facts. 

104 Discussions and Applications 

In the first instance, consider a single living cell. Such a cell includes 
subservient inorganic societies, such as molecules and electrons. Thus, the 
cell is an 'animal body'; and we must presuppose the physical physiology 7 
proper to this instance. But what of the individual living occasions? 

The first question to be asked is as to whether the living occasions, in 
abstraction from the inorganic occasions of the animal body, form a cor- 
puscular sub-society, so that each living occasion is a member of an en- 
during entity with its personal order. In particular we may ask whether 
this corpuscular society reduces to the extreme instance of such a society, 
namely, to one enduring entity with its one personal order. f 

The evidence before us is of course extremely slight; but so far as it 
goes, it suggests a negative answer to both these questions. A cell gives no 
evidence whatever of a single unified mentality, guided in each of its occa- 
[J59] sions by inheritance from its own past. The problem to be solved is 
that of a certain originality in the response of a cell to external stimulus. 
The theory of an enduring entity with its inherited mentality gives us a 
reason why this mentality should be swayed by its own past. We ask for 
something original at the moment, and we are provided with a reason for 
limiting originality. Life is a bid for freedom: an enduring entity binds 
any one of its occasions to the line of its ancestry. The doctrine of the 
enduring soul with its permanent characteristics is exactly the irrelevant 
answer to the problem which life presents. That problem is, How can there 
be originality? And the answer explains how the soul need be no more 
original than a stone. 

The theory of a corpuscular society, made up of many enduring entities, 
fits the evidence no better. The same objections apply. The root fact is that 
'endurance 7 is a device whereby an occasion is peculiarly bound by a single 
line of physical ancestry, while 'life 7 means novelty, introduced in accord- 
ance with the Category of Conceptual Reversion. There are the same 
objections to many traditions as there are to one tradition. What has to be 
explained is originality of response to stimulus. This amounts to the doc- 
trine that an organism is 'alive 7 when in some measure its reactions are 
inexplicable by any tradition of pure physical inheritance. 

Explanation by 'tradition 7 is merely another phraseology for explana- 
tion by 'efficient cause. 7 We require explanation by 'final cause. 7 Thus a 
single occasion is alive when the subjective aim which determines its pro- 
cess of concrescence has introduced a novelty of definiteness not to be 
found in the inherited data of its primary phase. The novelty is introduced 
conceptually and disturbs the inherited 'responsive 7 adjustment of subjec- 
tive forms. It alters the 'values/ in the artist's sense of that term. 

It follows from these considerations that in abstraction from its animal 
body an 'entirely living* nexus is not [J 60] properly a society at all, since 
'life' cannot be a defining characteristic. It is the name for originality, and 
not for tradition. The mere response to stimulus is characteristic of all 
societies whether inorganic or alive. Action and reaction are bound to- 

The Order of Nature 105 

gether. The characteristic of life is reaction adapted to the capture of in- 
tensity, under a large variety of circumstances. But the reaction is dictated 
by the present and not by the past. It is the clutch at vivid immediacy. 


Another characteristic of a living society is that it requires food. In a 
museum the crystals are kept under glass cases; in zoological gardens the 
animals are fed. Having regard to the universality of reactions with envi- 
ronment, the distinction is not quite absolute. It cannot, however, be 
ignored. The crystals are not agencies requiring the destruction of elab- 
orate societies derived from the environment; a living society is such an 
agency. The societies which it destroys are its food. This food is destroyed 
by dissolving it into somewhat simpler social elements. It has been robbed 
of something. Thus, all societies require interplay with their environment; 
and in the case of living societies this interplay takes the form of robbery. 
The living society may, or may not, be a higher type of organism than the 
food which it disintegrates. But whether or no it be for the general good, 
life is robbery. It is at this point that with life morals become acute. The 
robber requires justification. 

The primordial appetitions which jointly constitute God's purpose are 
seeking intensity, and not preservation. Because they are primordial, there 
is nothing to preserve. He, in his primordial nature, is unmoved by love for 
this particular, or that particular; for in this foundational process of crea- 
tivity, there are no preconstituted particulars. In the foundations of his 
being, God is indifferent alike to preservation and to novelty. [161] He 
cares not whether an immediate occasion be old or new, so far as concerns 
derivation from its ancestry. His aim 16 for it is depth of satisfaction as an 
intermediate step towards the fulfilment of his own being. His tenderness 
is directed towards each actual occasion, as it arises. 

Thus God's purpose in the creative advance is the evocation of inten- 
sities. The evocation of societies is purely subsidiary to this absolute end. 
The characteristic of a living society is that a complex structure of in- 
organic societies is woven together for the production of a non-social nexus 
characterized by the intense physical experiences of its members. But such 
an experience is derivate from the complex order of the material animal 
body, and not from the simple 'personal order' of past occasions with 
analogous experience. There is intense experience without the shackle of 
reiteration from the past. This is the condition for spontaneity of concep- 
tual reaction. The conclusion to be drawn from this argument is that life 
is a characteristic of 'empty space' and not of space 'occupied' by any cor- 
puscular society. In a nexus of living occasions, there is a certain social 
deficiency. Life lurks in the interstices of each living cell, and in the in- 

16 Cf. Part V. 

106 Discussions and Applications 

terstices of the brain. In the history of a living society, its more vivid 
manifestations wander to whatever quarter is receiving from the animal 
body an enormous variety of physical experience. This experience, if 
treated inorganically, must be reduced to compatibility by the normal ad- 
justments of mere responsive reception. This means the dismissal of in- 
compatible elements into negative prehensions. 

The complexity of the animal body is so ordered that in the critical por- 
tions of its interstices the varied datum of physical experience is complex, 
and on the edge of a compatibility beyond that to be achieved by mere in- 
organic treatment. A novel conceptual prehension disturbs [162] the sub- 
jective forms of the initial responsive phase. Some negative prehensions are 
thus avoided, and higher contrasts are introduced into experience. 

So far as the functioning of the animal body is concerned, the total 
result is that the transmission of physical influence, through the empty 
space within it, has not been entirely in conformity with the physical laws 
holding for inorganic societies. The molecules within an animal body ex- 
hibit certain peculiarities of behaviour not to be detected outside an animal 
body. In fact, living societies illustrate the doctrine that the laws of nature 
develop together with societies which constitute an epoch. There are sta- 
tistical expressions of the prevalent types of interaction. In a living cell, the 
statistical balance has been disturbed. 

The connection of 'food' with 'life' is now evident. The highly complex 
inorganic societies required for the structure of a cell, or other living body, 
lose their stability amid the diversity of the environment. But, in the 
physical field of empty space produced by the originality of living occasions, 
chemical dissociations and associations take place which would not other- 
wise occur. The structure is breaking down and being repaired. The food 
is that supply of highly complex societies from the outside which, under the 
influence of life, will enter into the necessary associations to repair the 
waste. Thus life acts as though it were a catalytic agent. 

The short summary of this account of a living cell is as follows: (i) an 
extremely complex and delicately poised chemical structure; (ii) for the 
occasions in the interstitial f 'empty' space a complex objective datum 
derived from this complex structure; (iii) under normal 'responsive' treat- 
ment, devoid of originality, the complex detail reduced to physical sim- 
plicity by negative prehensions; (iv) this detail preserved for positive feel- 
ing by the emotional and purposive readjustments produced by originality 
of conceptual feeling (appetition); (v) the physical distortion of the field, 
leading to instability of [163] the structure; (vi) the structure accepting 
repair by food from the environment. 


The complexity of nature is inexhaustible. So far we have argued that the 
nature of life is not to be sought by its identification with some society of 

The Order of Nature 107 

occasions, which are living in virtue of the defining characteristic of that 
society. An 'entirely living' nexus is 7 in respect to its life, not social. Each 
member of the nexus derives the necessities of its being from its prehen- 
sions of its complex social environment; by itself the nexus lacks the genetic 
power which belongs to 'societies/ But a living nexus, though non-social in 
virtue of its life/ may support a thread of personal order along some his- 
torical route of its members. Such an enduring entity is a living person/ 
It is not of the essence of life to be a living person. Indeed a living person 
requires that its immediate environment be a living, non-social nexus. 

The defining characteristic of a living person is some definite type of 
hybrid prehensions transmitted from occasion to occasion of its existence. 
The term 'hybrid' is defined more particularly in Part III. It is sufficient 
to state here that a 'hybrid' prehension is the prehension by one subject of 
a conceptual prehension, or of an 'impure' prehension, belonging to the 
mentality of another subject. By this transmission the mental originality 
of the living occasions receives a character and a depth. In this way origi- 
nality is both 'canalized'— to use Bergson's word— and intensified. Its range 
is widened within limits. Apart from canalization, depth of originality 
would spell disaster for the animal body. With it, personal mentality can 
be evolved, so as to combine its individual originality with the safety of the 
material organism on which it depends. Thus life turns back into society: it 
binds originality within bounds, and gains the massiveness due to reiterated 

In the case of single cells, of vegetation, and of the [164] lower forms of 
animal life, we have no ground for conjecturing living personality. But in 
the case of the higher animals there is central direction, which suggests 
that in their case each animal body harbours a living person, or living per- 
sons. Our own self-consciousness is direct awareness of ourselves as such 
persons. 17 There are limits to such unified control, which indicate dis- 
sociation of personality, multiple personalities in successive alternations, 
and even multiple personalities in joint possession. This last case belongs 
to the pathology of religion, and in primitive times has been interpreted as 
demoniac possession. Thus, though life in its essence is the gain of inten- 
sity through freedom, yet it can also submit to canalization and so gain the 
massiveness of order. But it is not necessary merely to presuppose the 
drastic case of personal order. We may conjecture, though without much 
evidence, that even in the lowest form of life the entirely living nexus is 
canalized into some faint form of mutual conformity. Such conformity 
amounts to social order depending on hybrid prehensions of originalities in 
the mental poles of the antecedent members of the nexus. The survival 
power, arising from adaptation and regeneration, is thus explained. Thus 
life is a passage from physical order to pure mental originality, and from 

17 This account of a living personality requires completion by reference to its 
objectification in the consequent nature of God. Cf. Part V, Ch. II. 

108 Discussions and Applications 

pure mental originality to canalized mental originality. It must also be 
noted that the pure mental originality works by the canalization of rele- 
vance arising from the primordial nature of God. Thus an originality in the 
temporal world is conditioned, though not determined, by an initial sub- 
jective aim supplied by the ground of all order and of all originality. 

Finally, we have to consider the type of structured + society which gives 
rise to the traditional body-mind problem. For example, human men- 
tality is partly the outcome of the human body, partly the single directive 
[165] agency of the body, partly a system of cogitations which have a cer- 
tain irrelevance to the physical relationships of the body. The Cartesian 
philosophy is based upon the seeming fact— the plain fact— of one body 
and one mind, which are two substances in causaU association. For the 
philosophy of organism the problem is transformed. 

Each actuality is essentially bipolar, physical and mental, and the physi- 
cal inheritance is essentially accompanied by a conceptual reaction partly 
conformed to it, and partly introductory of a+ relevant novel contrast, but 
always introducing emphasis, valuation, and purpose. The integration of 
the physical and mental side into a unity of experience is a self-formation 
which is a process of concrescence, and which by the principle of objective 
immortality characterizes the creativity which transcends it. So though 
mentality is non-spatial, mentality is always a reaction from, and integra- 
tion with, physical experience which is spatial. It is obvious that we must 
not demand another mentality presiding over these other actualities (a 
kind of Uncle Sam, over and above all the U.S. citizens). All the life in 
the body is the life of the individual cells. There are thus millions upon 
millions of centres of life in each animal body. So what needs to be ex- 
plained is not dissociation of personality but unifying control, by reason 
of which we not only have unified behaviour, which can be observed by 
others, but also consciousness of a unified experience. 

A good many actions do not seem to be due to the unifying control, e.g., 
with proper stimulants a heart can be made to go on beating after it has 
been taken out of the body. There are centres of reaction and control which 
cannot be identified with the centre of experience. This is still more so with 
insects. For example, worms and jellyfish seem to be merely harmonized 
cells, very little centralized; when cut in two, their parts go on performing 
their functions independently. Through a series of animals we can trace a 
progressive rise into a [166] centrality of control. Insects have some cen- 
tral control; even in man, many of the body's actions are done with some 
independence, but with an organ of central control of very high-grade char- 
acter in the brain. 

The state of things, according to the philosophy of organism, is very dif- 
ferent from the Scholastic view of St. Thomas Aquinas, of the mind as in- 
forming the body. The living body is a coordination of high-grade actual 
occasions; but in a living body of a low type the occasions are much nearer 
to a democracy. In a living body of a high type there are grades of occa- 

The Order of Nature 109 

sions so coordinated by their paths of inheritance through the body, that 
a peculiar richness of inheritance is enjoyed by various occasions in some 
parts of the body. Finally, the brain is coordinated so that a peculiar rich- 
ness of inheritance is enjoyed now by this and now by that part; and thus 
there is produced the presiding personality at that moment in the body. 
Owing to the delicate organization of the body, there is a returned influ- 
ence, an inheritance of character derived from the presiding occasion and 
modifying the subsequent occasions through the rest of the body. 

We must remember the extreme generality of the notion of an enduring 
object— a genetic character inherited through a historic route of actual 
occasions. Some kinds of enduring objects form material bodies, others do 
not. But just as the difference between living and non-living occasions is 
not sharp, but more or less, so the distinction between an enduring object 
which is an atomic material body and one which is nott is again more or 
less. Thus the question as to whether to call an enduring object a transition 
of matter or of character is very much a verbal question as to where you 
draw the line between the various properties (cf. the way in which the 
distinction between matter and radiant energy has now vanished). 

Thus in an animal body the presiding occasion, if there be one, is the 
final node, or intersection, of a complex [167} structure of many enduring 
objects. Such a structure pervades the human body. The harmonized rela- 
tions of the parts of the body constitute this wealth of inheritance into a 
harmony of contrasts, issuing into intensity of experience. The inhibitions 
of opposites have been adjusted into the contrasts of opposites. The human 
mind is thus conscious of its bodilyt inheritance. There is also an enduring 
object formed by the inheritance from presiding occasion to presiding oc- 
casion. This endurance of the mind is only one more example of the gen- 
eral principle on which the body is constructed. This route of presiding 
occasions probably wanders from part to part of the brain, dissociated from 
the physical material atoms. But central personal dominance is only partial, 
and in pathological cases is apt to vanish. 



[168] So far the discussion has chiefly concentrated upon the discrimina- 
tion of the modes of functioning which in germ, or in mere capacity, are 
represented in the constitution of each actual entity. The presumption 
that there is only one genus of actual entities constitutes an ideal of cos- 
mological theory to which the philosophy of organism endeavours to don- 
form. The description of the generic character of an actual entity should 
include God, as well as the lowliest actual occasion, though there is a spe- 
cific difference between the nature of God and that of any occasion. 

Also the differences between actual occasions, arising from the charac- 
ters of their data, and from the narrowness and widths of their feelings, 
and from the comparative importance of various stages, enable a classifica- 
tion to be made whereby these occasions are gathered into various types. 
From the metaphysical standpoint these types are not to be sharply dis- 
criminated; as a matter of empirical observation, the occasions do seem to 
fall into fairly distinct classes. 

The character of an actual entity is finally governed by its datum; what- 
ever be the freedom of feeling arising in the concrescence, there can be no 
transgression of the limitations of capacity inherent in the datum. The 
datum both limits and supplies. It follows from this doctrine that the 
character of an organism depends on that of its environment. But the 
character of an environment is the sum of the characters of the various 
societies of actual entities which jointly constitute that envi- [J 69] ron- 
ment; although it is pure assumption that every environment is com- 
pletely overrun by societies of entities. Spread through the environment 
there may be many entities which cannot be assigned to any society of 
entities. The societies in an environment will constitute its orderly ele- 
ment, and the non-social actual entities will constitute its element of 
chaos. There is no reason, so far as our knowledge is concerned, to con- 
ceive the actual world as purely orderly, or as purely chaotic. 

Apart from the reiteration gained from its societies, an environment 
does not provide the massiveness of emphasis capable of dismissing its 
contrary elements into negative prehensions. Any ideal of depth of satis- 
faction, arising from the combination of narrowness and width, can only 
be achieved through adequate order. In proportion to the chaos there is 
triviality. There are different types of order; and it is not true that in pro- 

Organisms and Environment 111 

portion to the orderliness there is depth. There are various types of order, 
and some of them provide more trivial satisfaction than do others. Thus, 
if there is to be progress beyond limited ideals, the course of history by 
way of escape must venture along the borders of chaos in its substitution 
of higher for lower types of order. 

The immanence of God gives reason for the belief that pure chaos is 
intrinsically impossible. At the other end of the scale, the immensity of 
the world negatives the belief that any state of order can be so established 
that beyond it there can be no progress. This belief in a final order, popu- 
lar in religious and philosophic thought, seems to be due to the prevalent 
fallacy that all types of seriality necessarily involve terminal instances. 
It follows that Tennyson's phrase, 

. . . onef far-off divine event 

To which the whole creation moves, 

presents a fallacious conception of the universe. 

An actual entity must be classified in respect to its [170] 'satisfaction/ 
and this arises out of its datum by the operations constituting its 'process/ 
Satisfactions can be classified by reference to 'triviality/ Vagueness/ 'nar- 
rowness/ 'width.' Triviality and vagueness are characteristics in the satis- 
faction which have their origins respectively in opposed characteristics in 
the datum. Triviality arises from lack of coordination in the factors of the 
datum, so that no feeling arising from one factor is reinforced by any 
feeling arising from another factor. In other words, the specific constitu- 
tion of the actual entity in question is not such as to elicit depth of feel- 
ing from contrasts thus presented. Incompatibility has predominated over 
contrast. Then the process can involve no coordinating intensification 
either from a reinforced narrowness, or from enhancement of relevance 
due to the higher contrasts derived from harmonized width. Triviality is 
due to the wrong sort of width; that is to say, it is due to width without 
any reinforced narrowness in its higher categories. Harmony is this com- 
bination of width and narrowness. Some narrow concentration on a 
limited set of effects is essential for depth; but the difference arises in the 
levels of the categories of contrast involved. A high category involves un- 
plumbed potentiality for the realization of depth in its lower components. 
Thus 'triviality' arises from excess of incompatible differentiation. 

On the other hand, 'vagueness' is due to excess of identification. In the 
datum the objectifications of various actual entities are replicas with faint 
coordinations of perspective contrast. Under these conditions the con- 
trasts between the various objectifications are faint, and there is deficiency 
in supplementary feeling discriminating the objects from each other. 
There can thus be intensive narrowness in the prehension of the whole 
nexus, by reason of the common character,! combined with vagueness, 
which is the irrelevance of the differences between the definite actual en- 
tities of the nexus. The objectified entities reinforce each other by their 

112 Discussions and Applications 

likeness. But there [171] is lack of differentiation among the component 
objectifications owing to the deficiency in relevant contrasts. 

In this way a group of actual entities contributes to the satisfaction as 
one extensive whole. It is divisible, but the actual divisions, and their 
sporadic differences of character, have sunk into comparative irrelevance 
beside the one character belonging to the whole and any of its parts. 

By reason of vagueness, many count as one, and are subject to indefi- 
nite possibilities of division into such multifold unities. When there is 
such vague prehension, the differences between the actual entities so pre- 
hended are faint chaotic factors in the environment, and have thereby 
been relegated to irrelevance. Thus vagueness is an essential condition for 
the narrowness which is one condition for depth of relevance. It enables a 
background to contribute its relevant quota, and it enables a social group 
in the foreground to gain concentrated relevance for its community of 
character. The right chaos, and the right vagueness, are jointly required 
for any effective harmony. They produce the massive simplicity which has 
been expressed by the term 'narrowness/ Thus chaos is not to be identified 
with evil; for harmony requires the due coordination of chaos, vagueness, 
narrowness, and width. 

According to this account, the background in which the environment is 
set must be discriminated into two layers. There is first the relevant back- 
ground, providing a massive systematic uniformity. This background is 
the presupposed world to which all ordinary propositions refer. Secondly, 
there is the more remote chaotic background which has merely an irrelevant 
triviality, so far as concerns direct objectification in the actual entity in 
question. This background represents those entities in the actual world 
with such perspective remoteness that there is even a chaos of diverse 
cosmic epochs. In the background there is triviality, vagueness, and mas- 
sive uniformity; in the foreground discrimination and [172] contrasts, but 
always negative prehensions of irrelevant diversities. 


Intensity is the reward of narrowness. The domination of the environ- 
ment by a few social groups is the factor producing both the vagueness of 
discrimination between actual entities and the intensification of relevance 
of common characteristics. These are the two requisites for narrowness. 
The lower organisms have low-grade types of narrowness; the higher or- 
ganisms have intensified contrasts in the higher categories. In describing 
the capacities, realized or unrealized, of an actual occasion, we have, with 
Locke, tacitly taken human experience as an example upon which to 
found the generalized description required for metaphysics. But when we 
turn to the lower organisms we have first to determine which among such 
capacities fade from realization into irrelevance, that is to say, by com- 
parison with human experience which is our standard. 

Organisms and Environment 113 

In any metaphysical scheme founded upon the Kantian or Hegelian 
traditions, experience is the product of operations which lie among the 
higher of the human modes of functioning. For such schemes, ordered ex- 
perience is the result of schematization of modes of thought, concerning 
causation, substance, quality, quantity. 

The process by which experiential unity is attained f is thereby con- 
ceived in the guise of modes of thought. The exception is to be found in 
Kant's preliminary sections on 'Transcendental Aesthetic/ by which he 
provides space and time. But Kant, following Hume, assumes the radical 
disconnection of impressions qua data; and therefore conceives his tran- 
scendental aesthetic* to be the mere description of a subjective process 
appropriating the data by orderliness of feeling. 

The philosophy of organism aspires to construct a critique of pure 
feeling, in the philosophical position in [173] which Kant put his Critique 
of Pure Reason. This should also supersede the remaining Critiques re- 
quired in the Kantian philosophy. Thus in the organic philosophy Kant's 
'Transcendental Aesthetic' becomes a distorted fragment of what should 
have been his main topic. The datum includes its own interconnections, 
and the first stage of the process of feeling is the reception into the 
^responsive conformity of feeling whereby the datum, which is mere po- 
tentiality, becomes the individualized basis for a complex unity of 

This conception, as found in the philosophy of organism, is practically 
identical with Locke's ways of thought in the latter half of his Essay. He 
speaks of the ideas in the perceived objects, and tacitly presupposes their 
identification with corresponding ideas in the perceiving mind. The ideas in 
the objects have been appropriated by the subjective functioning of the 
perceiving mind. This mode of phraseology can be construed as a casual 
carelessness of speech on the part of Locke, or a philosophic inconsistency. 
But apart from this inconsistency Locke's philosophy falls to pieces; as in 
fact was its fate in the hands of Hume. 

There is, however, a fundamental misconception to be found in Locke, 
and in prevalent doctrines of perception. It concerns the answer to the 
question t as to the description of the primitive types of experience. Locke 
assumes that the utmost primitiveness is to be found in sense-perception. 
The seventeenth-century physics, with the complexities of primary and 
secondary qualities, should have warned philosophers that sense-percep- 
tion was involved in complex modes of functioning. Primitive feeling is to 
be found at a lower level. The mistake was natural for mediaeval and Greek 
philosophers: for they had not modern physics before them as a plain 
warning. In sense-perception we have passed the Rubicon, dividing direct 
perception from the higher forms of mentality, which play with error and 
thus found intellectual empires. 

[174] The more primitive types of experience are concerned with sense- 
reception, and not with sense-perception. This statement will require some 

114 Discussions and Applications 

prolonged explanation. But the course of thought can be indicated by 
adopting Bergson's admirable phraseology, sense-reception is 'unspatial- 
ized/ and sense-perception is 'spatialized/ In sense-reception the sensa are 
the definiteness of emotion: they are emotional forms transmitted from 
occasion to occasion. Finally in some occasion of adequate complexity, the 
Category of Transmutation endows them with the new function of charac- 
terizing nexus. 


In the first place, those eternal objects which will be classified under the 
name 'sensa' constitute the lowest category of eternal objects. Such eternal 
objects do not express a manner of relatedness between other eternal ob- 
jects. They are not contrasts, or patterns. Sensa are necessary as com- 
ponents in any actual entity, relevant in the realization of the higher 
grades. But a sensum does not, for its own realization, require any eternal 
object of a lower grade, though it does involve the potentiality of pattern 
and does gain access of intensity from some realization of status in some 
realized pattern. Thus a sensum requires, as a rescue from its shallowness 
of zero width, some selective relevance of wider complex eternal objects 
which include it as a component; but it does not involve the relevance of 
any eternal objects which it presupposes. Thus, in one sense, a sensum is 
simple; for its realization does not involve the concurrent realization of 
certain definite eternal objects, which are its definite simple components. 
But, in another sense, each sensum is complex; for it cannot be dissociated 
from its potentiality for ingression into any actual entity, and fromf its 
potentiality of contrasts and of patterned relationships with other eternal 
objects. Thus each sensum shares the characteristic common to all eternal 
objects, that it introduces the notion of the logi- [175] cal variable, in both 
forms, the unselective 'any' and the selective 'some/ 

It is possible that this definition of 'sensa' excludes some cases of con- 
trast which are ordinarily termed 'sensa' and that it includes some emo- 
tional qualities which are ordinarily excluded. Its convenience consists in 
the fact that it is founded on a metaphysical principle, and not on an 
empirical investigation of the physiology of the human body. 

Narrowness in the lowest category achieves such intensity as belongs to 
such experience, but fails by reason of deficiency of width. Contrast elicits 
depth, and only shallow experience is possible when there is a lack of pat- 
terned contrast. Hume notices the comparative failure of the higher fa- 
culty of imagination in respect to mere sensa. He exaggerates this com- 
parative failure into a dogma of absolute inhibition to imagine a novel 
sensum; whereas the evidence which he himself adduces, of the imagina- 
tion of a new shade of colour to fill a gap in a graduated scale of shades, 
shows t that a contrast between given shades can be imaginatively extended 
so as to generate the imagination of the missing shade. But Hume's ex- 

Organisms and Environment 115 

ample also shows that imagination finds its easiest freedom among the 
higher categories of eternal objects, 

A pattern is in a sense simple: a pattern is the 'manner' of a complex 
contrast abstracted from the specific eternal objects which constitute the 
'matter' of the contrast. But the pattern refers unselectively to any eternal 
objects with the potentiality of being elements in the 'matter' of some 
contrast in that 'manner/ 

A pattern and a sensum are thus both simple in the sense that neither 
involves other specified eternal objects in its own realization. The manner 
of a pattern is the individual essence of the pattern. But no individual 
essence is realizable apart from some of its potentialities of relationship, 
that is, apart from its relational essence. But a pattern lacks simplicity in 
another sense, in which \176] a sensum retains simplicity. The realization 
of a pattern necessarily involves the concurrent realization of a group of 
eternal objects capable of contrast in that pattern. The realization of the 
pattern is through the realization of this contrast. The realization might 
have occurred by means of another contrast in the same pattern; but 
some complex contrast in that pattern is required. But the realization of a 
sensum in its ideal shallowness of intensity, with zero width, does not 
require any other eternal object, other than its intrinsic apparatus of indi- 
vidual and relational essence; it can remain just itself, with its unrealized 
potentialities for patterned contrasts. An actual entity with this absolute 
narrowness has an ideal faintness of satisfaction, differing from the ideal 
zero of chaos, but equally impossible. For realization means ingression in 
an actual entity, and this involves the synthesis of all ingredients with data 
derived from a complex universe. Realization is ideally distinguishable 
from the ingression of contrasts, but not in fact. 

The simplest grade of actual occasions must be conceived as experienc- 
ing a few sensa, with the minimum of patterned contrast. The sensa are 
then experienced emotionally, and constitute the specific feelings whose 
intensities sum up into the unity of satisfaction. In such occasions the proc- 
ess is deficient in its highest phases; the process is the slave to the datum. 
There is the individualizing phase of conformal feeling, but the originative 
phases of supplementary and conceptual feelings f are negligible. 


According to this account, the experience of the simplest grade of ac- 
tual entity is to be conceived as the unoriginative response to the datum 
with its simple content of sensa. The datum is simple, because it presents 
the objectified experiences of the past under the guise of simplicity. Occa- 
sions A, B, and C enter into the experience of occasion M as themselves 
experiencing [177] sensa Si and s 2 unified by some faint contrast between 
s x and s 2 . Occasion JVf responsively feels sensa $1 and s 2 as its own sensa- 
tions. There is thus a transmission of sensation emotion from A, B, and C 
to M. If M had the wit of self-analysis, M would know that it felt its own 

116 Discussions and Applications 

sensa, by reason of a transfer from A, B, and C to itself. Thus the (un- 
conscious) direct perception of A, B, and C is merely the causal efficacy 
of A, B, and C as elements in the constitution of M. Such direct percep- 
tion will suffer from vagueness; for if A, B, and C tell the same tale with 
minor variation of intensity, the discrimination of A, and B, and C from 
each other will be irrelevant. There may thus remain a sense of the causal 
efficacy of actual presences, whose exact relationships in the external world 
are shrouded. Thus the experience of M is to be conceived as a quantitative 
emotion arising from the contribution of sensa from A, B, C and propor- 
tionately conformed to by M. 

Generalizing from the language of physics, the experience of M is an 
intensity arising out of specific sensa, directed from A, B, C. There is in 
fact a directed influx from A, B, C of quantitative feeling, arising from 
specific forms of feeling. The experience has a vector character, a common 
measure of intensity, and specific forms of feelings conveying that inten- 
sity. If we substitute the term 'energy' for the concept of a quantitative 
emotional intensity, and the term 'form of energy 7 for the concept of 
'specific form of feeling/ and remember that in physics Vector' means defi- 
nite transmission from elsewhere, we see that this metaphysical description 
of the simplest elements in the constitution of actual entities agrees ab- 
solutely with the general principles according to which the notions of 
modern physics are framed. The 'datum/ in metaphysics is the basis of the 
vector-theory in physics; the quantitative satisfaction in metaphysics is 
the basis of the scalar localization of energy in physics; the 'sensa' in 
metaphysics are the basis of the diversity of specific forms under which 
energy clothes itself. Sci- [178] entific descriptions are, of course, entwined 
with the specific details of geometry and physical laws, which arise from 
the special order of the cosmic epoch in which we find ourselves. But the 
general principles of physics are exactly what we should expect as a spe- 
cific exemplification of the metaphysics required by the philosophy of 
organism. It has been a defect in the modern philosophies that they throw 
no light whatever on any scientific principles. Science should investigate 
particular species, and metaphysics should investigate the generic notions 
under which those specific principles should fall. Yet, modern realisms 
have had nothing to say about scientific principles; and modern idealisms 
have merely contributed the unhelpful suggestion that the phenomenal 
world is one of the inferior avocations of the Absolute. 

The direct perception whereby the datum in the immediate subject is 
inherited from the past can thus, under an abstraction, be conceived as the 
transference of throbs of emotional energy, clothed in the specific forms 
provided by sensa. Since the vagueness in the experientf subject will veil 
the separate objeetifi cations wherein there are individual contributions 
to the total satisfaction, the emotional energy in the final satisfaction wears 
the aspect of a total intensity capable of all gradations of ideal variation. 
But in its origin it represents the totality arising from the contributions of 

Organisms and Environment 117 

separate objects to that form of energy. Thus, having regard to its origin, 
a real atomic structure of each form of energy is discernible, so much from 
each objectified actual occasion; and only a finite number of actual occa- 
sions will be relevant. 

This direct perception, characterized by mere subjective responsiveness 
and by lack of origination in the higher phases, exhibits the constitution 
of an actual entity under the guise of receptivity. In the language of causa- 
tion, it describes the efficient causation operative in the actual world. In 
the language of epistemology, as framed by Locke, it describes how the 
ideas of particular [179] existents are absorbed into the subjectivity of the 
percipient and are the datum for its experience of the external world. In 
the language of science, it describes how the quantitative intensity of lo- 
calized energy bears in itself the vector marks of its origin, and the spe- 
cialities of its specific forms; it also gives a reason for the atomic quanta 
to be discerned in the building up of a quantity of energy. In this way, 
the philosophy of organism— as it should— appeals to the facts. 


The current accounts of perception are the stronghold of modern meta- 
physical difficulties. They have their origin in the same misunderstanding 
which led to the incubus of the substance-quality categories. The Greeks 
looked at a stone, and perceived that it was grey. The Greeks were ig- 
norant of modern physics; but modern philosophers discuss perception in 
terms of categories derived from the Greeks. 

The Greeks started from perception in its most elaborate and sophisti- 
cated form, namely, visual perception. In visual perception, crude per- 
ception is most completely made over by the originative phases in ex- 
perience, phases which are especially prominent in human experience. If 
we wish to disentangle the two earlier prehensive phases— the receptive 
phases, namely, the datum and the subjective response— from the more 
advanced originative phases, we must consider what is common to all 
modes of perception, amid the bewildering variety of originative 

On this topic I am content to appeal to Hume. He writes: "But my 
senses convey to me only the impressions of coloured points, disposed in a 
certain manner. If the eye is sensible of any thingt further, I desire it may 
be pointed out to me/' 1 And again: "It is universally allowed by the 
writers on optics, that the eye at all times sees an equal number of physical 
points, and that a man [180] on the top of a mountain has no larger an 
image presented to his senses, than when he is cooped up in the narrow- 
est court or chamber." 2 

In each of these quotations Hume explicitly asserts that the eye sees. 

1 Treatise, Bk. U Part II, Sect. III. Italics not his. 

2 Treatise, Bk. I, Part III, Sect. IX.* 

118 Discussions and Applications 

The conventional comment on such a passage is that Hume, for the sake 
of intelligibility, is using common forms of expression; that he is only 
really speaking of impressions on the mind; and that in the dim future, 
some learned scholar will gain reputation by emending 'eye' into 'ego/ 
The reason for citing the passages is to enforce the thesis that the form 
of speech is literary and intelligible because it expresses the ultimate truth 
of animal perception. The ultimate momentary 'ego' has as its datum the 
'eye as experiencing such-and-such f sights/ In the second quotation, the 
reference to the number of physical points is a reference to the excited 
area on the retina. Thus the 'eye as experiencing such-and-such sights' is 
passed on as a datum 7 from the cells of the retina, throughf the train of 
actual entities forming the relevant nerves, up to the brain. Any direct 
relation of eye to brain is entirely overshadowed by this intensity of in- 
direct transmission. Of course this statement is merely a pale abstraction 
from the physiological theory of vision. But the physiological account 
does not pretend to be anything more than indirect inductive knowledge. 
The point here to be noticed is the immediate literary obviousness of 'the 
eye as experiencing such-and-such sights/ This is the very reason why 
Hume uses the expression in spite of his own philosophy. The conclusion, 
which the philosophy of organism draws, is that in human experience the 
fundamental fact of perception is the inclusion, in the datum, of the ob- 
jectification of an antecedent part of the human body with such-and-such 
experiences. Hume agrees with this conclusion f sufficiently well so as to 
argue from it, when it suits his purpose. He writes: 

I would fain ask those philosophers, who found so much of their 
reasonings on the distinction [J 81] of substance and accident, and 
imagine we have clear ideas of each, whether the idea of substance be 
derived from the impressions of sensation or reflection? If it be con- 
veyed to usf by our senses, I ask, which of them, and after what man- 
ner? If it be perceived by the eyes, it must be a colour; if by the ears, a 
sound; if by the palate, a taste; and so of the other senses. 3 
We can prolong Hume's list: the feeling of the stone is in the hand; the 
feeling of the food is the ache in the stomach; the compassionate yearning 
is in the bowels, according to biblical writers; the feeling of well-being is in 
the viscera passim; ill temper is the emotional tone derivative from the 
disordered liver. 

In this list, Hume's and its prolongation, for some cases—as in sight, 
for example— the supplementary phase in the ultimate subject overbal- 
ances in importance the datum inherited from the eye. In other cases, as 
in touch, the datum of 'the feeling in the hand' maintains its importance, 
however much the intensity, or even the character, of the feeling may be 
due to supplementation in the ultimate subject: this instance should be 
contrasted with that of sight. In the instance of the ache the stomach, as 

3 Treatise, Bk. I, Part I, Sect. VI. 

Organisms and Environment 119 

datum, is of chief importance, and the food though obscurely felt is 
secondary— at least, until the intellectual analysis of the situation due to 
the doctor, professional or amateur. In the instances of compassion, well- 
being, and ill temper, the supplementary feelings in the ultimate subject 
predominate, though there are obscure references to the bodily organs as 
inherited data. 

This survey supports the view that the predominant basis of perception 
is perception of the various bodily organs, as passing on their experiences 
by channels of transmission and of enhancement. It is the accepted doc- 
trine in physical science that a living body is to be interpreted according 
to what is known of other sections of the physical universe. This is a sound 
axiom; but it [182] is double-edged. For it carries with it the converse de- 
duction that other sections of the universe are to be interpreted in ac- 
cordance with what we know of the human body. 

It is also a sound rule that all interpretation should be based upon a 
vera causa. Now the original reliance upon 'the grey stone 7 has been 
shown by modern physics to be due to a misapprehension of a complex 
situation; but we have direct knowledge of the relationship of our central 
intelligence to our bodily feelings. According to this interpretation, the 
human body is to be conceived as a complex 'amplifier'— to use the lan- 
guage of the technology of electromagnetism. The various actual entities, 
which compose the body, are so coordinated that the experiences of any 
part of the body are transmitted to one or more central occasions to be 
inherited with enhancements accruing upon the way, or finally added by 
reason of the final integration. The enduring personality is the historic 
route of living occasions which are severally dominant in the body at suc- 
cessive instants. The human body is thus achieving on a scale of concen- 
trated efficiency a type of social organization, which with every gradation 
of efficiency constitutes the orderliness whereby a cosmic epoch shelters in 
itself intensity of satisfaction. 

The crude aboriginal character of direct perception is inheritance. What 
is inherited is feeling-tone with evidence of its origin: in other words, vector 
feeling-tone. In the higher grades of perception vague feeling-tone dif- 
ferentiates itself into various types of sensa— those of touch, sight, smell, 
etc.— each transmuted into a definite prehension of tonal contemporary 
nexus f by the final percipient. 


In principle, the animal body is only the more highly organized and 
immediate part of the general environment for its dominant actual occa- 
sion, which is the ultimate [183] percipient. But the transition from with- 
out to within the body marks the passage from lower to higher grades of 
actual occasions. The higher the grade, the more vigorous and the more 
original is the enhancement from the supplementary phase. Pure recep- 

120 Discussions and Applications 

tivity and transmission givef place to the trigger-action of life whereby 
there is release of energy in novel forms. Thus the transmitted datum ac- 
quires sensa enhanced in relevance or even changed in character by the 
passage from the low-grade external world into the intimacy of the human 
body. The datum transmitted from the stone becomes the touch-feeling 
in the hand, but it preserves the vector characterf of its origin from the 
stone. The touch-feeling in the hand with this vector origin from the stone 
is transmitted to the percipient in the brain. Thus the final perception is 
the perception of the stone through the touch in the hand. In this per- 
ception the stone is vague and faintly relevant in comparison with the 
hand. But, however dim, it is there. 

In the transmission of inheritance from A to B, to C, to D, A is ob- 
jectified by the eternal object S as a datum for B; where S is a sensum or a 
complex pattern of sensa. Then B is objectified for C. But the datum for 
B is thereby capable of some relevance for C, namely, A as objectified for 
B becomes reobjectified for C; and so on to D 7 and throughout the line of 
objectifications. Then for the ultimate subject M the datum includes A as 
thus transmitted, B as thus transmitted, and so on. The final objectifica- 
tions for M are effected by a set S 3 f of eternal objects which is a modifica- 
tion of the original group S. The modification consists partly in relegation 
of elements into comparative irrelevance, partly in enhancement of rele- 
vance for other elements, partly in supplementation by eliciting into 
important relevance some eternal objects not in the original S. Generally 
there will be vagueness in the distinction between A, and B, and C, and 
D, etc., in their function as components in the datum for M. Some of the 
line, A and C for instance, may stand out \184] with distinctness by rea- 
son of some peculiar feat of original supplementation which retains its 
undimmed importance in subsequent transmission. Other members of the 
chain may sink into oblivion. For example, in touch there is a reference to 
the stone in contact with the hand, and a reference to the hand; but in 
normal, healthy, bodily operations the chain of occasions along the arm 
sinks into the background, almost into complete oblivion. Thus M, which 
has some analytic consciousness of its datum, is conscious of the feeling in 
its hand as the hand touches the stone. According to this account, per- 
ception in its primary form is consciousness of the causal efficacy of the 
external world by reason of which the percipient is a concrescence from a 
definitely constituted datum. The vector character of the datum is this 
causal efficacy. 

Thus perception, in this primary sense, is perception of the settled 
world in the past as constituted by its feeling-tones, and as efficacious by 
reason of those feeling-tones. Perception, in this sense of the term, will be 
called 'perception in the mode of causal efficacy/ Memory is an example 
of perception in this mode. For memory is perception relating to the data 
from some historic route of ultimate percipient subjects Mi, M 2 , M 3 , 
etc., leading up to M which is the memorizing percipient. 

Organisms and Environment 121 


It is evident that 'perception in the mode of causal efficacy' is not that 
sort of perception which has received chief attention in the philosophical 
tradition. Philosophers have disdained the information about the universe 
obtained through their visceral feelings, and have concentrated on visual 

What we ordinarily term our visual perceptions are the result of the 
later stages in the concrescence of the percipient occasion. When we 
register in consciousness our visual perception of a grey stone, something 
more than bare sight is meant. The 'stone' has a reference [185] to its 
past, when it could have been used as a+ missile if small enough, or as a seat 
if large enough. A 'stone' has certainly a history, and probably a future. It is 
one of the elements in the actual world which has got to be referred to 
as an actual reason and not as an abstract potentiality. But we all know 
that the mere sight involved, in the perception of the grey stone, is the 
sight of a grey shape contemporaneous with the percipient, and with 
certain spatial relations to the percipient, more or less vaguely defined. 
Thus the mere sight is confined to the illustration of the geometrical 
perspective relatedness, of a certain contemporary spatial region, to the 
percipient, the illustration being effected by the mediation of 'grey/ The 
sensum 'grey' rescues that region from its vague confusion with other 

Perception which merely, by means of a sensum, rescues from vagueness 
a contemporary spatial region, in respect to its spatial shape and its spatial 
perspective from the percipient, will be called 'perception in the mode of 
presentational immediacy.' 

Perception in this mode has already been considered in Part II, Chapter 
II. A more elaborate discussion of it can now be undertaken. 4 The defini- 
tion, which has just been given, extends beyond the particular case of 
sight. The unravelling of the complex interplay between the two modes of 
perception— causal efficacy and presentational immediacy— t is one main 
problem of the theory of perception. 5 The ordinary philosophical discus- 
sion of perception is almost wholly concerned with this interplay, and 
ignores the two pure modes which are essential for its proper explanation. 
The interplay between the two modes will be termed 'symbolic reference.' 

[186] Such symbolic reference is so habitual in human experience that 
great care is required to distinguish the two modes. In order to find ob- 

4 Also cf.f subsequent discussions in Parts III and IV. 

5 Cf. my Barbour-Page lectures, Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect, delivered 
at the University of Virginia, April, 1927 (New York: Macrnillan, 1927; Cam- 
bridge University Press, 1928).+ Another discussion of this question is there 
undertaken, with other illustrations, Cf. also Professor Norman Kemp Smith's 
Prolegomena to an Idealist Theory of Knowledge, Macrnillan, 1924. 

122 Discussions and Applications 

vious examples of the pure mode of causal efficacy we must have recourse 
to the viscera and to memory; and to find examples of the pure mode of 
presentational immediacy we must have recourse to so-called 'delusive' 
perceptions. For example, the image of a grey stone as seen in a mirror 
illustrates the space behind the mirror; the visual delusions arising from 
some delirium, or some imaginative excitement, illustrate surrounding 
spatial regions; analogously for the double-vision due to maladjustment of 
the eyes; the sight at night, of the stars and nebulae and Milky Way, 
illustrates vague regions of the contemporary sky; the feelings in ampu- 
tated limbs illustrate spaces beyond the actual body; a bodily pain, re- 
ferred to some part not the cause of the disorder, illustrates the painful 
region though not the pain -giving region. All these are perfectly good ex- 
amples of the pure mode of presentational immediacy. 

The epithet 'delusive/ which fits many, if not all, of these examples of 
presentational immediacy, is evidence that the mediating eternal object is 
not to be ascribed to the donation of the perceived region. It must have 
acquired its ingression in this mode from one of the originative phases of 
the percipient occasion. To this extent, the philosophy of organism is in 
agreement with the seventeenth-century doctrine of primary and second- 
ary qualities, the mediating eternal object being, in this mode of ingres- 
sion, a secondary quality. But in the philosophy of organism the doctrine 
does not have the consequences which follow in the earlier philosophies. 

The account of perception in the pure mode of presentational imme- 
diacy, which has just been given, agrees absolutely with Descartes' doctrine 
of perception in general, so far as can be judged from his arguments which 
presuppose perception, and putting aside a few detached [J 87] passages 
wherein he comes near to the doctrine of 'objectification' and near to 
Locke's second doctrine of 'ideas determined to particular existents.' Any- 
how, his conclusion immediately follows that, in perception, thus de- 
scribed, all that is perceived is that the object has extension and is 
implicated in a complex of extensive relatedness with the animal body 
of the percipient. Part of the difficulties of Cartesian philosophy, and 
of any philosophy which accepts this account as a complete account 
of perception, is to explain how we know more than this meagre fact 
about the world although our only avenue of direct knowledge limits 
us to this barren residium. Also, if this be all that we perceive about 
the physical world, we have no basis for ascribing the origination of 
the mediating sensa to any functioning of the human body. We are thus 
driven to the Cartesian duality of substances, bodies and minds. Percep- 
tion is to be ascribed to mental functioning in respect to the barren ex- 
tensive universe. We have already done violence to our immediate con- 
viction by thus thrusting the human body out of the story; for, as Hume 
himself declares, we know that we see by our eyes, and taste by our palates. 
But when we have gone so far, it is inevitable to take a further step, and 
to discard our other conviction that we are perceiving a world of actual 

Organisms and Environment 123 

things within which we find ourselves. For a barren, extensive world is not 
really what we mean. We thus reduce perceptions to consciousness of 
impressions on the mind, consisting of sensa with 'manners' of related- 
ness. We then come to Hume, and to Kant. Kant's philosophy is an en- 
deavour to retrieve some meaning for the two convictions which we have 
successively discarded. We have noted that Locke wavers in his account of 
perception, so that in the earlier portion of his Essay he agrees with Hume, 
and in the later portion with the philosophy of organism. We have also 
noted that Hume is inconsistent to the extent of arguing from a convic- 
tion which is discarded in his philosophy. 


[188] Presentational immediacy illustrates the contemporary world in re- 
spect to its potentiality for extensive subdivision into atomic actualities 
and in respect to the scheme of perspective relationships which thereby 
eventuates. But it gives no information as to the actual atomization of 
this contemporary 'real potentiality/ By its limitations it exemplifies the 
doctrine, already stated above, that the contemporary world happens in- 
dependently of the actual occasion with which it is contemporary. This is 
in fact the definition of contemporaneousness (cf. Part II, Ch. II, Sect. I); 
namely, that actual occasions, A and B, are mutually contemporary, when 
A does not contribute to the datum for B, and B does not contribute to 
the datum for A, except that both A and B are atomic regions in the po- 
tential scheme of spatio-temporal extensiveness which is a datum for both 
A and B. 

Hume's polemic respecting causation is, in fact, one prolonged, con- 
vincing argument that pure presentational immediacy does not disclose 
any causal influence, either whereby one actual entity is constitutive of 
the percipient actual entity, or whereby one perceived actual entity is con- 
stitutive of another perceived actual entity. The conclusion is that, in so 
far as concerns their disclosure by presentational immediacy, actual en- 
tities in the contemporary universe are causally independent of each other. 

The two pure modes of perception in this way disclose a variety of loci 
defined by reference to the percipient occasion M. For example, there are 
the actual occasions of the settled world which provide the datum for M; 
these lie in M's causal past. Again, there are the potential occasions for 
which M decides its own potentialities of contribution to their data; these 
lie in M's causal future. There are also those actual occasions which lie 
neither in M's causal past, nor in M's causal future. Such actual occasions 
are called M's 'contemporaries/ These \189] three loci are defined solely 
by reference to the pure mode of causal efficacy. 

We now turn to the pure mode of presentational immediacy. One great 
difference from the previous way+ of obtaining loci at once comes into 
view. In considering the causal mode, the past and the future were de- 

124 Discussions and Applications 

fined positively, and the contemporaries of M were defined negatively as 
lying neither in M's past nor in JVf s future. In dealing with presentational 
immediacy the opposite way must be taken. For presentational immediacy 
gives positive information only about the immediate present as defined by 
itself. Presentational immediacy illustrates, by means of sensa, potential 
subdivisions within a cross-section of the world, which is in this way ob- 
jectified for M. This cross-section is JVPs immediate present. What is in 
this way illustrated is the potentiality for subdivision into actual atomic 
occasions; we can also recognize potentialities for subdivision of regions 
whose subdivisions remain unillustrated by any contrast of sensa. There 
are well-known limitations to such direct perceptions of unillustrated po- 
tentiality, a perception outrunning the real illustration of division by con- 
trasted sensa. Such limitations constitute the minima sensibilia. 

Hume's polemic respecting causation constitutes a proof that M's 'im- 
mediate present' lies within the locus of M's contemporaries. The presen- 
tation to M of this locus, forming its immediate present, contributes to 
M's datum two facts about the universe: one fact is that there is a 'unison 
of becoming/ constituting a positive relation of all the occasions in this 
community to any one of them. The members of this community share in 
a common immediacy; they are in 'unison' as to their becoming: that is 
to say, any pair of occasions in the locus are contemporaries. The other 
fact is the subjective illustration of the potential extensive subdivision 
with complete vagueness respecting the actual atomization. For example, 
the stone, which in the immediate [190] present is a group of many actual 
occasions, is illustrated as one grey spatial region. But, to go back to the 
former fact, the many actual entities of the present stone and the per- 
cipient are connected together in the 'unison of immediate becoming.' 
This community of concrescent occasions, forming M's immediate present, 
thus establishes a principle of common relatedness, a principle realized as 
an element in M's datum. This is the principle of mutual relatedness in 
the 'unison of becoming/ But this mutual relatedness is independent of 
the illustration by those sensa t through which presentational immediacy 
for M is effected. Also the illustration by these sensa has unequal relevance 
for M, throughout the locus. In its spatially remote parts it becomes vaguer 
and vaguer, fainter and fainter; and yet the principle of 'unison of be- 
coming' still holds, in despite of the fading importance of the sensa. We 
thus find that the locus— namely, M's immediate present— is determined 
by the condition of 'mutual unison' independently of variations of rele- 
vant importance in M's illustrative sensa, and extends to their utmost 
bounds of faintness, and is equally determinate beyond such bounds. We 
thus gain the conception of a locus in which any two atomic actualities 
are in 'concrescent unison,' and which is particularized by the fact that M 
belongs to it, and so do all actual occasions belonging to extensive regions 
which lie in M's immediate present as illustrated by importantly relevant 
sensa. This complete region is the prolongation of M's immediate present 

Organisms and Environment 125 

beyond M's direct perception, the prolongation being effected by the 
principle of 'concrescent unison/ 

A complete region, satisfying the principle of 'concrescent unison/ will 
be called a 'duration/ A duration is a cross-section of the universe; it is 
the immediate present condition of the world at some epoch, according to 
the old 'classical' theory of time— a theory never doubted until within the 
last few years. It will have been seen that the philosophy of organism 
accepts and defines this [191] notion. Some measure of acceptance is 
imposed upon metaphysics. If the notion be wholly rejected no appeal to 
universal obviousness of conviction can have any weight; since there can 
be no stronger instance of this force of obviousness. 

The 'classical' theory of time tacitly assumed that a duration included 
the directly perceived immediate present of each one of its members. The 
converse proposition certainly follows from the account given above, that 
the immediate present of each actual occasion lies in a duration. An actual 
occasion will be said 6 to be 'cogredientf with' or 'stationary in' the dura- 
tion including its directly perceived immediate present. The actual occa- 
sion is included in its own immediate present; so that each actual occa- 
sion through its percipience in the pure mode of presentational imme- 
diacy—if such percipience has important relevance— defines one duration 
in which it is included. The percipient occasion is 'stationary' in this 

But the classical theory also assumed the converse of this statement. It 
assumed that any actual occasion only lies in one duration; so that if N 
lies in the duration including M's immediate present, then M lies in the 
duration including N's immediate present. The philosophy of organism, in 
agreement with recent physics, rejects this conversion; though it holds that 
such rejection is based on scientific examination of our cosmic epoch, and 
not on any more general metaphysical principle. According to the philoso- 
phy of organism, in the present cosmic epoch only one duration includes 
all M's immediate present; this one duration will be called M's 'presented 
duration.' But M itself lies in many durations; each duration including M 
also includes some portions of M's presented duration. In the case of 
human perception practically all the important portions are thus included; 
also in human experience the relationship to such dura- \192] tions is what 
we express by the notion of 'movement/ 

To sum up this discussion. In respect to any one actual occasion M 
there are three distinct nexus of occasions to be considered: 

(i) The nexus of M's contemporaries, defined by the characteristic that 
M and any one of its contemporaries happen in causal independence of 
each other. 

(ii) Durations including M;f any such duration is defined by the char- 
acteristic that any two of its members are contemporaries. (It follows that 

6 Cf. my Principles of Natural Knowledge, Ch. XI, and my Concept of Nature, 
Ch. V. 

126 Discussions and Applications 

any member of such a duration is contemporary with M, and thence that 
such durations are all included in the locus (i). The characteristic prop- 
erty of a duration is termed 'unison of becoming/) 

(iii) M's presented locus, which is the contemporary nexus perceived in 
the mode of presentational immediacy, with its regions defined by sensa. 
It is assumed, on the basis of direct intuition, that JVf s presented locus is 
closely related to some one duration including M. It is also assumed, as 
the outcome of modern physical theory, that there is more than one dura- 
tion including M. The single duration which is so related to M's presented 
locus is termed 'JVf s presented duration/ But this connection is criticized 
in the following sections of this chapter. In Part IV, the connection of 
these 'presented' loci to regions defined by straight lines is considered in 
more detail; the notion of 'strain-loci'* is there introduced. 


Physical science has recently arrived at the stage in which the practical 
identification, made in the preceding section, between the 'presented 
locus' of an actual entity, and a locus in 'unison of becoming with the 
actual entity must be qualified. 

The two notions, 'presented locus' and 'unison of becoming/ are dis- 
tinct. The identification merely rests on the obvious experience of daily 
life. In any recasting of [193] thought it is obligatory to include the iden- 
tification as a practical approximation to the truth, sufficient for daily life. 
Subject to this limitation, there is no reason for rejecting any distinction 
between them which the evidence suggests. 

In the first place, the presented locus is defined by some systematic 
relation to the human body— so far as we rely, as we must, upon human 
experience. A certain state of geometrical strain in the body, and a certain 
qualitative physiological excitement in the cells of the body, govern the 
whole process of presentational immediacy. In sense-perception the whole 
function of antecedent occurrences outside the body is merely to excite 
these strains and physiological excitements within the body. But any 
other means of production would do just as well, so long as the relevant 
states of the body are in fact produced. The perceptions are functions of 
the bodily states. The geometrical details of the projected sense-perception 
depend on the geometrical strains in the body, the qualitative sensa de- 
pend on the physiological excitements of the requisite cells in the body. 

Thus the presented locus must be a locus with a systematic geometrical 
relation to the body. According to all the evidence, it is completely inde- 
pendent of the contemporary actualities which in fact make up the nexus 
of actualities in the locus. For example, we see a picture on the wall with 
direct vision. But if we turn our back to the wall, and gaze into a good 
mirror, we see the same sight as an image behind the mirror. Thus, given 
the proper physiological state of the body, the locus presented in sense- 

Organisms and Environment 127 

perception is independent of the details of the actual happenings which 
it includes. This is not to sayt that sense-perception is irrelevant to the 
real world. It demonstrates to us the real extensive continuum in terms of ** 
which these contemporary happenings have their own experiences quali- 
fied. Its additional information in terms of the qualitative sensa has rele- 
vance in proportion to the relevance of the immediate bodily state to the 
imme- [194] diate happenings throughout the locus. Both are derived 
from a past which is practically common to them all. Thus there is always 
some relevance; the correct interpretation of this relevance is the art of 
utilizing the perceptive mode of presentational immediacy as a means for 
understanding the world as a medium. 

But the question which is of interest for this discussion is how this 
systematic relevance, of body to presented locus, is definable. This is not a 
mere logical question. The problem is to point out that element in the 
nature of things constituting such a geometrical relevance of the bodv to 
the presented locus. If there be such an element, we can understand that a 
certain state of the body may lift it into an important factor of our 

The only possible elements capable of this extended systematic relevance 
beyond the body are straight lines and planes. Planes are definable in 
terms of straight lines, so that we can concentrate attention upon straight 

It is a dogma of science that straight lines are not definable in terms of 
mere notions of extension. Thus, in the expositions of recent physical 
theory, straight lines are defined in terms of the actual physical happenings. 
The disadvantage of this doctrine is that there is no method of charac- 
terizing the possibilities of physical events antecedently to their actual 
occurrence. It is easy to verify that in fact there is a tacit relevance to an 
underlying system, by reference to which the physical loci— including those 
called 'straight lines'— are defined. The question is how to define this un- 
derlying system in terms of 'pure' straight lines, determinable without ref- 
erence to the casual** details of the happenings. 

It will be shown later (cf. Part IV, Chs. Ill and IV) that this dogma of 
the indefinability of straight lines is mistaken. Thus the systematic relation 
of the body to the presented locus occasions no theoretical difficulty. 

All measurement is effected by observations of sensa [195] with geo- 
metrical relations within this presented locus. Also all scientific observa- 
tion of the unchanged character of things ultimately depends! upon the 
maintenance of directly observed geometrical analogies within such loci. 

However far the testing of instruments is carried, finally all scientific 
interpretation is based upon the assumption of directly observed unchange- 
ably of some instrument for seconds, for hours, for months, for years. 
When we test this assumption we can only use another instrument; and 
there! cannot be an infinite regress of instruments. 

Thus ultimately all science depends upon direct observation of homol- 

128 Discussions and Applications 

ogy of status within a system. Also the observed system is the complex of 
geometrical relations within some presented locus. 

In the second place, a locus of entities in 'unison of becoming' ob- 
viously depends on the particular actual entities. The question, as to how 
the extensive continuum is in fact atomized by the atomic actualities, is 
relevant to the determination of the locus. The factor of temporal en- 
durance selected for any one actuality will depend upon its initial 'sub- 
jective aim/ The categoreal conditions which govern the 'subjective aim' 
are discussed later in Part III. They consist generally in satisfying some 
condition of a maximum, to be obtained by the transmission of inherited 
types of order. This is the foundation of the 'stationary' conditions in 
terms of which the ultimate formulations of physical science can be 
mathematically expressed. 

Thus the loci of 'unison of becoming' are only determinable in terms of 
the actual happenings of the world. But the conditions which they satisfy 
are expressed in terms of measurements derived from the qualification of 
actualities by the systematic character of the extensive continuum. 

The term 'duration' will be used for a locus of 'unison of becoming/ 
and the terms 'presented locus' and 'strain- [196] locus' for the systematic 
locus involved in presentational immediacy. 7 

The strain-loci provide the systematic geometry with its homology of 
relations throughout all its regions; the durations share in the deficiency of 
homology characteristic of the physical field which arises from the pe- 
culiarities of the actual events. 


We can now sum up this discussion of organisms, order, societies,! nexus. 

The aim of the philosophy of organism is to express a coherent cos- 
mology based upon the notions of 'system,' 'process/ 'creative advance into 
novelty,' 'res vera! (in Descartes' sense), 'stubborn fact/ 'individual unity of 
experience,' 'feeling/ 'time as perpetual perishing/ 'endurance as re-crea- 
tion/ 'purpose,' 'universals as forms of defmiteness/ 'particulars— i.e., res 
verae—as ultimate agents of stubborn fact.' 

Every one of these notions is explicitly formulated either by Descartes 
or by Locke. Also no one can be dropped without doing violence to com- 
mon sense. But neither Descartes nor Locke weaves these notions into one 
coherent system of cosmology. In so far as either philosopher is systematic, 
he relies on alternative notions which in the end lead to Hume's extreme 
of sensationalism. 

In the philosophy of organism it is held that the notion of 'organism' 
has two meanings, interconnected but intellectually separable, namely, 
the microscopic meaning and the macroscopic meaning.** The microscopic 

7 In The Concept of Nature these two loci were not discriminated, namely, 
durations and strain-loci. 

Organisms and Environment 129 

meaning is concerned with the formal constitution of an actual occasion, 
considered as a process of realizing an individual unity of experience. The 
macroscopic meaning is concerned with the givenness of the actual world, 
considered as the stubborn fact which at once limits and provides [197] 
opportunity for the actual occasion. The canalization of the creative urge, 
exemplified in its massive reproduction of social nexus, is for common 
sense the final illustration of the power of stubborn fact. Also in our ex- 
perience, we essentially arise out of our bodies which are the stubborn 
facts of the immediate relevant past. We are also carried on by our im- 
mediate past of personal experience; we finish a sentence because we have 
begun it. The sentence may embody a new thought, never phrased before, 
or an old one rephrased with verbal novelty. There need be no well-worn 
association between the sounds of the earlier and the later words. But it 
remains remorselessly true, that we finish a sentence because we have be- 
gun it. We are governed by stubborn fact. 

It is in respect to this 'stubborn fact' that the theories of modern philos- 
ophy are weakest. Philosophers have worried themselves about remote 
consequences, and the inductive formulations of science. They should con- 
fine attention to the rush of immediate transition. Their explanations 
would then be seen in their native absurdity. 



[198] A more detailed discussion of Descartes, Locke, and Hume— in 
this and in the succeeding chapter— may make plain how deeply the philos- 
ophy of organism is founded on seventeenth-century thought and how at 
certain critical points it diverges from that thought 

We shall understand better the discussion, if we start with some analysis 
of the presuppositions upon which Hume's philosophy rests. These pre- 
suppositions were not original to Hume, nor have they ceased with him. 
They were largely accepted by Kant and are widely prevalent in modern 
philosophy. The philosophy of organism can be best understood by con- 
ceiving it as accepting large portions of the expositions of Hume and Kant, 
with the exception of these presuppositions, and of inferences directly 
derived from them. Hume is a writer of unrivalled clearness; and, as far as 
possible ? it will be well to allow him to express his ideas in his own words. 
He writes: 

We may observe, that it is universally allowed by philosophers, 
and is besides pretty obvious of itself, that nothing is ever really pres- 
ent with the mind but its perceptions or impressions and ideas, and 
that external objects become known to us only by those perceptions 
they occasion. To hate, to love, to think, to feel, to see; all this is 
nothing but to perceive. 1 

All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into 
two distinct kinds, which I shall call impressions and ideas. The 
difference betwixt these consists in [199] the degrees of force and live- 
liness, with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into 
our thought or consciousness. Those perceptions which enter with 
most force and violence, we may name impressions; and, under this 
name, I comprehend all our sensations, passions, and emotions, as 
they make their first appearance in the soul. By ideas, I mean the 
faint images of these in thinking and reasoning; such as, for instance, 
are all the perceptions excited by the present discourse, excepting only 
those which arise from the sight and touch, and excepting the imme- 
diate pleasure or uneasiness it may occasion, 2 

1 Treatise, Bk. I, Part II, Sect. VI. 

2 Treatise, Bk. I, Part I, Sect. I. 

Locke and Hume 131 

The exceptions made in the above quotation are, of course, due to the 
fact that the 'perceptions' arising in these excepted ways are 'impressions' 
and not 'ideas/ Hume immediately draws attention to the fact that he 
deserts Locke's wide use of the term 'idea/ and restores it to its more usual 
and narrow meaning. He divides both ideas and impressions into 'simple' 
and 'complex/ He then adds: 

... we shall here content ourselves with establishing one general 
proposition, That all our simple ideas in their first appearance, are 
derived from simple impressions, which are correspondent to them, 
and which they exactly represent? 

When Hume passes on to complex impressions and ideas, his admirable 
clearness partially deserts him. He fails to distinguish sufficiently between 
(i) the ' ( manner' (or 'order') in which many simples constitute some one 
complex perception, i.e., impression or idea; and (ii) the efficacious fact by 
reason of which this complex perception arises; and (iii) the mere multi- 
plicity of simples which constitute the complex perception in this definite 
manner. In this respect Hume's followers only differ from Hume by dis- 
carding some of that clarity which never wholly deserts him. Each one of 
these three notions is an essential element in his argument. He writes: 
[200] ... we may conclude with certainty, that the idea of extension is 
nothing but a copy of these coloured f points, and of the manner of 
their appearance. 4 
Also he writes: 

Were ideas entirely loose and unconnected, chancef alone would 
join them; and it is impossible the same simple ideas should! fall 
regularly into complex ones (as they commonly do), without some 
bond of union among them, some associating quality, by which one 
idea naturally introduces another. This uniting principle among ideas 
is not to be considered as an inseparable connection; for that has been 
already 5 excluded from the imagination: nor yet are we to conclude, 
that without it the mind cannot join two ideas; for nothing is more 
free than that faculty: but we are only to regard it as a gentle force, 
which commonly prevails, and is the cause why, among other things, 
languages so nearly correspond to each other; Nature, in a manner, 
pointing out to every one those simple ideas, which are most proper 
to be united into a complex one. 6 
As a final quotation, to illustrate Hume's employment of the third no- 
tion, we have: 
The idea of a substance as well as that of a mode, is nothing but a col- 
lection of simple ideas, that are united by the imagination, and have a 
particular name assigned them, . . . But the difference betwixt these 

3 Treatise, Bk. I, Part I, Sect. I. 

4 Treatise, Bk. I, Part II, Sect. III. 

5 Cf. Hume's previous section. 

6 Treatise, Bk. I, Part I, Sect. IV. 

132 Discussions and Applications 

ideas consists in this, that the particular qualities, which form at sub- 
stance, are commonly referred to an unknown something [italics 
Hume's], in which they are supposed to inhere; or granting this fiction 
should not take place, are at least supposed to be closely and in- 
separably connected by the relations of contiguity and causation. 
The effect of this is, that whatever new simple quality we discover to 
have the same connection with the rest, we immediately comprehend 
it among them, even though it did not enter into the first conception 
of the substance. . . . The principle of union being regarded as the 
chief part of the complex [201] idea, gives entrance to whatever qual- 
ity afterwards occurs, and is equally comprehended by it, as are the 
others, which first presented themselves. . . . 7 

In this last quotation, the phrase 'principle of union' is ambiguous as 
between 'manner' and 'efficacious' reason. In either sense, it is inconsistent 
with the phrase 'nothing but a collection,' which at the beginning of \fhe 
quotation settles so simply the notion of 'substance.' 

Returning to the first of this sequence of three quotations, we note that 
any particular 'manner' of composition must itself be a simple idea, or im- 
pression. For otherwise we require yet another 'manner' of composition 
for the original manner, and so on indefinitely. Thus there is either a 
vicious infinity or a final simple idea. But Hume admits that there are 
novel compound ideas which are not copies of compound impressions. 
Thus he should also admit that there is a novel simple idea conveying the 
novel 'manner,' which is not a copy of an impression. He has also himself 
drawn attention to another exception in respect to missing shades of 
colour in a graduated colour scheme. This exception cannot be restricted 
to colour, and must be extended to sound, and smell, and to all gradua- 
tions of sensations. Thus Hume's proposition, that simple ideas are all 
copies of simple impressions, is subject to such considerable qualifications 
that it cannot be taken for an ultimate philosophical principle, at least 
not when enunciated in Hume's unguarded fashion. Hume himself, in 
the passage (Part I, Sect. IV) quoted above for its relevance to his doc- 
trine of the association of ideas, says, ". . . for nothing is more free than 
that faculty [i.e., the imagination]." But he limits its freedom to the 
production of novel complex ideas, disregarding the exceptional case of 
missing shades. This question of imaginative freedom is obviously treated 
very superficially by Hume. Imagination is never very free: it does not 
seem to be limited to complex ideas, as asserted by [202] him; but such 
freedom as it has in fact seems to establish the principle of the possibility 
of diverse actual entities with diverse grades of imaginative freedom, 
some more, some less, than the instances in question. 

In this discussion of Hume's doctrine of imaginative freedom, two 
other points have been left aside. One such point is the difference be- 

7 Treatise, Bk. I, Part I, Sect. VI. Italics not in edition quoted, except where 

Locke and Hume 133 

tween various grades of generic abstraction, for example, scarlet, red ? 
colour, sense-datum, manner of connectedness of diverse sense-data. The 
other point is the contrast between 'simplicity' and 'complexity/ We may 
doubt whether 'simplicity' is ever more than a relative term, having regard 
to some definite procedure of analysis. I hold this to be the case; and by 
reason of this opinion find yet another reason for discarding Hume's 
doctrine which would debar imagination from the free conceptual pro- 
duction of any type of eternal objects, such as Hume calls 'simple/ But 
there is no such fact as absolute freedom; every actual entity possesses 
only such freedom t as is inherent in the primary phase 'given' by its stand- 
point of relativity to its actual universe. Freedom, givenness, potentiality, 
are notions which presuppose each other and limit each other. 


Hume, at the end of this passage on the connectedness of ideas, places 
the sentence "... Nature, in a manner, pointing out to every one those 
simple ideas, which are most proper to be united into a complex one." * 
Hume's philosophy is occupied with the double search, first, for manners 
of unity, whereby many simples become one complex impression; and 
secondly, for a standard of propriety by which to criticize the production 
of ideas. 

Hume can find only one standard of propriety, and that is, repetition. 
Repetition is capable of more or less: the more often impressions are 
repeated, the more proper it is that ideas should copy them. Fortunately, 
and without any reason so far as Hume can discover, complex [203] im- 
pressions, often repeated, are also often copied by their corresponding 
complex ideas. 

Also the frequency of ideas following upon the frequency of their cor- 
relate impressions is also attended by an expectation of the repetition of 
the impression. Hume also believes, without any reason he can assign, that 
this expectation is pragmatically justified. It is this pragmatic justification, 
without metaphysical reason, which constitutes the propriety attaching to 
'repetition/ This is the analysis of the course of thought involved in Hume's 
doctrine of the association of ideas in its relation to causation, and in 
Hume's final appeal to practice. 

It is a great mistake to attribute to Hume any disbelief in the importance 
of the notion of 'cause and effect/ Throughout the Treatise he steadily 
affirms its fundamental importance; and finally, when he cannot fit it into 
his metaphysics, he appeals beyond his metaphysics to an ultimate justifi- 
cation outside any rational systematization. This ultimate justification is 

Hume writes: 

As our senses show us in one instance two bodies, or motions, or 

qualities, in certain relations of succession and contiguity, so our 

memory presents us only with a multitude of instances wherein we 

134 Discussions and Applications 

always find like bodies, motions, or qualities, in like relations. From 
the mere repetition of any past impression, even to infinity, there 
never will arise any new original idea, such as that of a necessary 
connection; and the number of impressions has in this case no more 
effect than if we confined ourselves to one only. But though this rea- 
soning seems just and obvious, yet, as it would be folly to despair too 
soon, we shall continue the thread of our discourse; and having found, 
that after the discovery of the constant conjunction of any objects, we 
always draw an inference from one object to another, we shall now 
examine the nature of that inference, and of the transition from the 
impression to the idea. Perhaps it will appear in the end, that the 
necessary connection depends on the inference, instead of the in- 
ference's depending on [204} the necessary connection. . . . The only 
connection or relation of objects, which can lead us beyond the im- 
mediate impressions of our memory and senses, is that of cause and 
effect; and that because it is the only one, on which we can found a 
just inference from one object to another. The idea of cause and 
effect is derived from experience [italics Hume's], which informs us, 
that such particular objects, in all past instances, have been con- 
stantly conjoined with each other: and as an object similar to one of 
these is supposed to be immediately present in its impression, we 
thence presume on the existence of one similar to its usual attendant. 
According to this account of things, which is, I think, in every point 
unquestionable, probability is founded on the presumption of a re- 
semblance betwixt those objects of which we have had experience, 
and those of which we have had none; and, therefore, it is impossible 
t this presumption can arise from probability* 

Hume's difficulty with 'cause and effect' is that it lies "beyond the im- 
mediate impressions of our memory and senses."! In other words, this man- 
ner of connection is not given in any impression. Thus the whole basis of 
the idea, its propriety, is to be traced to the repetition of impressions. At 
this point of his argument, Hume seems to have overlooked the difficulty 
that 'repetition' stands with regard to 'impressions' in exactly the same 
position as does 'cause and effect.' Hume has confused a 'repetition of 
impressions' with an 'impression of repetitions of impressions/ In Hume's 
own words on another topic (Part II, Sect. V) : 
For whence should it be derived? Does it arise from an impression of 
sensation or of reflection? Point it out distinctly to us, that we may 
know its nature and qualities. But if you cannot point out any such 
impression [Hume's italics], you may be certain you are mistaken, 
when you imagine you have any such idea* 

Hume's answer to this criticism would, of course, be [205} that he ad- 
mits 'memory.' But the question is what is consistent with Hume's own 

8 Treatise, Bk. I, Part III, Sect. VI. Italics not in Treatise. 

Locke and Hume 135 

doctrine. This is Hume's doctrine of memory (Part III, Sect. V): "Since 
therefore the memory is known, neither by the order of its complex ideas, 
nor f the nature of its simple ones; it follows, that the difference be- 
twixt it and the imagination lies in its superior force and vivacity." But (in 
Part I, Sect. I) he writes: "By ideas I mean the faint images of these [i.e., 
impressions] in thinking and reasoning/' and later on he expands 'faint' 
into "degree of force and vivacity." 9 Thus, purely differing in 'force and 
vivacity/ we have the order: impressions, memories, ideas. 

This doctrine is very implausible; and, to speak bluntly, is in contradic- 
tion to plain fact. But, even worse, it omits the vital character of memory, 
namely, that it is memory. In fact the whole notion of repetition is lost in 
the 'force and vivacity doctrine. What Hume does explain is that with a 
number of different perceptions immediately concurrent, he sorts them 
out into three different classes according to force and vivacity. But the 
repetition character, which he ascribes to simple ideas, and which is the 
whole point of memory, finds no place in his explanation. Nor can it do 
so, without an entire recasting of his fundamental philosophic notions. 


Hume's argument has become circular. In the beginning of his Treatise, 
he lays down the 'general proposition': "That all our simple ideas in their 
first appearance, are derived from simple impressions, . . ." He proves this 
by an empirical survey. But the proposition itself employs— covertly, so far 
as language is concerned— the notion of 'repetition/ which itself is not an 
'impression/ Again, later he finds 'necessary connection': he discards \206] 
this because he can find no corresponding impression. But the original 
proposition was only founded on an empirical survey; so the argument for 
dismissal is purely circular. Further, if Hume had only attended to his 
own excellent Part II, Section VI, "Of the Idea of Existence, and of external 
Existence,"! he would have remembered that whatever we do think of, 
thereby in some sense 'exists.' Thus, having the idea of 'necessary con- 
nection/ the only question is as to its exemplification in the connectedness 
of our 'impressions.' He muddies the importance of an idea with the fact 
of our entertainment of the idea. We cannot even be wrong in thinking 
that we think of 'necessary connection/ unless we are thinking of 'neces- 
sary connection.' Of course, we may be very wrong in believing that the 
notion is important. 

The reasons for this examination of Hume, including the prolonged 
quotations, are (i) that Hume states with great clearness important as- 
pects of our experience; (ii) that the defects in his statements are emi- 

9 This doctrine of 'force and vivacity' is withdrawn in the last sentence* of 
Hume's Appendix to the Treatise. But the argument in the Treatise is substan- 
tially built upon it. In the light of the retraction the whole 'sensationalist' doc- 
trine requires reconsideration. The withdrawal cannot be treated as a minor 

1 36 Discussions and Applications 

nently natural defects which emerge with great clearness, owing to the 
excellence of his presentation; and (iii) that Hume differs from the great 
majority of his followers chiefly by the way in which he faces up to the 
problems raised by his own philosophy. 

The first point to notice is that Hume's philosophy is pervaded by the 
notion of 'repetition/ and that memory is a particular example of this 
character of experience, that in some sense there is entwined in its funda- 
mental nature the fact that it is repeating something. Tear 'repetition' out 
of 'experience/ and there is nothing left. On the other hand, 'immediacy/ 
or 'first-handedness/ is another element in experience. Feeling overwhelms 
repetition; and there remains the immediate, first-handed fact, which is the 
actual world in an immediate complex unity of feeling. 

There is another contrasted pair of elements in experience, clustering 
round the notion of time, namely, 'endurance' and 'change/ Descartes, 
who emphasizes the notion [207] of 'substance/ also emphasizes 'change/ 
Hume, who minimizes the notion of 'substance/ similarly emphasizes 
'change/ He writes: 
Now as time is composed of parts that are not coexistent, an un- 
changeable object, since it produces none but coexistent impressions, 
produces none that can give us the idea of time: and, consequently, 
that idea must be derived from a succession of changeable objects, 
and time in its first appearance can never be severed from such a 
succession. 10 
Whereas Descartes writes: 

... for this [i.e., 'the nature of time or of the duration of things'] is 
of such a kind that its parts do not depend one upon the other, and 
never co-exist; and from the fact that we now are, it does not follow 
that we shall be a moment afterwards, if some cause— the same that 
first produced us— does not continue so to produce us; that is to say, 
to conserve us. 
And again: 

We shall likewise have a very different understanding of duration, 
order and number, if, in place of mingling with the idea that we 
have of them what properly speaking pertains to the conception of sub- 
stance, we merely consider that the duration of each thing is a mode 
under which we shall consider this thing in so far as it continues to 
exist; . . , 11 

We have certainly to make room in our philosophy for the two con- 
trasted notions, one that every actual entity endures, and the other that 
every morning is a new fact with its measure of change. 

These various aspects can be summed up in the statement that ex- 
perience involves a becoming, that becoming means that something be- 

10 Treatise, Bk. I, Part II, Sect. III. 

11 Principles, Part I, 21, and 55. 

Locke and Hume 1 37 

comes, and that what becomes involves repetition transformed into novel 

This statement directly traverses one main presupposition which Des- 
cartes and Hume agree in stating explicitly. This presupposition is that of 
the individual independence of successive temporal occasions. For [208] 
example, Descartes, in the passage cited above, writes: "[The nature of 
time is such]t that its parts do not depend one upon the other, . . ." Also 
Hume's impressions are self-contained, and he can find no temporal re- 
lationship other than mere serial order. This statement about Hume re- 
quires qualifying so far as concerns the connection between 'impressions' 
and 'ideas/ There is a relation of 'derivation' of 'ideas' from 'impressions' 
which he is always citing and never discussing. So far as it is to be taken 
seriously — for he never refers it to a correlate 'impression'— it constitutes 
an exception to the individual independence of successive 'perceptions.' 
This presupposition of individual independence is what I have elsewhere 12 
called, the 'fallacy of simple location.' The notion of 'simple location' is 
inconsistent with any admission of 'repetition'; Hume's difficulties arise 
from the fact that he starts with simple locations and ends with repetition. 
In the organic philosophy the notion of repetition is fundamental. The 
doctrine of objectification is an endeavourf to express how what is settled 
in actuality is repeated under limitations, so as to be 'given' for immediacy. 
Later, in discussing 'time,' this doctrine will be termed the doctrine of 
'objective immortality.' 


The doctrine of the individual independence of real facts is derived 
from the notion that the subject-predicate form of statement conveys a 
truth which is metaphysically ultimate. According to this view, an indi- 
vidual substance with its predicates constitutes the ultimate type of ac- 
tuality. If there be one individual, the philosophy is monistic; if there be 
many individuals, the philosophy is pluralistic. With this metaphysical 
presupposition, the relations between individual substances constitute 
metaphysical nuisances: there is no place for them. Accordingly— in de- 
fiance of the most obvious deliverance of our intuitive 'prejudices'— every 
[209] respectable philosophy of the subject-predicate type is monistic. 

The exclusive dominance of the substance-quality metaphysics was enor- 
mouslv promoted by the logical bias of the mediaeval period. It was re- 
tarded by the study of Plato and of Aristotle. These authors included the 
strains of thought which issued in this doctrine, but included them in- 
consistently mingled with other notions. The substance-quality meta- 
physics triumphed with exclusive dominance in Descartes' doctrines. Un- 
fortunately he did not realize that his notion of the 'res vera' did not en- 
tail the same disjunction of ultimate facts as that entailed by the Aris- 

12 Cf. Science and the Modem World, Ch. III. 

1 38 Discussions and Applications 

totelian notion of 'primary substance/ Locke led a revolt from this dom- 
inance, but inconsistently. For him and also for Hume, in the background 
and tacitly presupposed in all explanations, there remained the mind with 
its perceptions. The perceptions, for Hume, are what the mind knows 
about itself; and tacitly the knowable facts are always treated as qualities 
of a subject— the subject being the mind. His final criticism of the notion 
of the 'mind' does not alter the plain fact that the whole of the previous 
discussion has included this presupposition. Hume's final criticism only 
exposes the metaphysical superficiality of his preceding exposition. 

In the philosophy of organism a subject-predicate proposition is con- 
sidered as expressing a high abstraction. 

The metaphysical superiority of Locke over Hume is exhibited in his 
wide use of the term 'idea/ which Locke himself introduced and Hume 
abandoned. Its use marks the fact that his tacit subject-predicate bias is 
slight in its warping effect. He first (I, I, 8*) explains: "... I have used 
it [i.e., idea] to express whatever is meant by phantasm, notion, species, or 
whatever it is which the mind can be employed about in thinking; . . ." 
But later (III, III, 6t), without any explicit notice of the widening of 
use, he writes: ". . . and ideas become 13 \210] general by separating from 
them the circumstances of time, and place, and any other ideas that may 
determine them to this or that particular existence" Here, for Locke, the 
operations of the mind originate from ideas 'determined' to particular 
existents. This is a fundamental principle with Locke; it is a casual con- 
cession to the habits of language with Hume; and it is a fundamental 
principle with the philosophy of organism. In an earlier section (II, XXIII, 
1) Locke expresses more vaguely the same doctrine, though in this con- 
text he immediately waters it down into an unexplained notion of 'going 
constantly together': "The mind, being, . . . furnished with a great number 
of the simple ideas conveyed in by the senses, as they are found in ex- 
terior things, . . . takes notice, also, that a certain number of these simple 
ideas go constantly together" 

But Locke wavers in his use of this principle of some sort of perception 
of 'particular existents'; and Hume seeks consistency by abandoning it; 
while the philosophy of organism seeks to reconstruct Locke by abandon- 
ing those parts of his philosophy which are inconsistent with this prin- 
ciple. But the principle itself is to be found plainly stated by Locke. 

Hume has only impressions of 'sensation' and of 'reflection/ He writes: 
"The first kind arises in the soul originally, from unknown causes." 14 
Note the tacit presupposition of 'the soul' as subject, and 'impression of 
sensation' as predicate. Also note the dismissal of any intrinsic relevance to 
a particular existent, which is an existent in the same sense as the 'soul' is 
an existent; whereas Locke illustrates his meaning by referring (cf. Ill, 

13 Italics mine.* 

14 Treatise, Bk. I, Part I, Sect. II. 

Locke and Hume 139 

HI, 7) to a 'child —corresponding to 'the soul 7 in Hume's phrase— and to 
its 'nurse' of whom the child has its 'idea/ 

Hume is certainly inconsistent, because he cannot entirely disregard 
common sense. But his inconsistencies are violent, and his main argument 
negates Locke's use. [21 J] As an example of his glaring inconsistency of 
phraseology, note: 
As to those impressions, which arise from the senses, their ultimate 
cause is, in my opinion, perfectly inexplicable by human reason, and 
it will always be impossible to decide with certainty, whether they 
arrive immediately from the object, or are produced by the creative 
power of the mind, or are derived from the Author of our being. 15 
Here he inconsistently speaks of the object, whereas he has nothing on 
hand in his philosophy which justifies the demonstrative word 'the! In 
the second reference 'the object' has emerged into daylight. He writes: 
"There is no object which implies the existence of any other, if we con- 
sider these objects in themselves, and never look beyond the ideas which 
we form of them." This quotation exhibits an ingenious confusion whereby 
Hume makes the best of two metaphysical worlds, the world with Locke's 
principle, and his own world which is without Locke's principle. 

But Locke's principle amounts to this: That there are many actual 
existents, and that in some sense one actual existent repeats itself in 
another actual existent, so that in the analysis of the latter existent a 
component 'determined to' the former existent is discoverable. The phi- 
losophy of organism expresses this principle by its doctrines of 'prehen- 
sion' and of 'objectification.' Locke always supposes that consciousness is 
consciousness of the ideas in the conscious mind. But he never separates 
the 'ideas' from the 'consciousness.' The philosophy of organism makes 
this separation, and thereby relegates consciousness to a subordinate meta- 
physical position; and gives to Locke's Essay a metaphysical interpretation 
which was not in Locke's mind. This separation asserts Kant's principle: 
"Gedanken ohne Inhalt sind leer, Anschauungen ohne Begriffe sind 
blind." 16 But Kant's principle is here applied in exactly the converse way 
to Kant's own use of it. Kant is obsessed with the mentality [212] of 'in- 
tuition,' and hence f with its necessary involution in consciousness. His* 
suppressed premise is 'Intuitions are never blind.' 


In one important respect Hume's philosophical conceptions show a 
marked superiority over those of Locke. In the Essay Concerning Human 
Understanding, the emphasis is laid upon the morphological structure of 
'human understanding.' The logical relationships of various sorts of 'ideas' 
are examined. Now, whether in physics, biology, or elsewhere, morphology, 

is Treatise, Bk. I, Part III, Sect. V; cf. also Sect. VI. f 

16 Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Logic,' Introduction, Sect. I.t 

140 Discussions and Applications 

in the sense of the analysis of logical relationships, constitutes the first 
stage of knowledge. It is the basis of the new 'mathematical' method 
which Descartes introduced. Morphology deals in analytical propositions, 
as they are termed by Kant. For example, Locke writes: "The common 
names of substances, as well as other general terms, stand for sorts: 
which 1? is nothing else but the being made signs of such complex ideas, 
wherein several particular substances do or might agree, by virtue of which 
they are capable of being comprehended in one common conception, and 
be signified by one name." And again: "Our abstract ideas are to us the 
measures of species." And again: "Nor let any one say, that the power of 
propagation in animals by the mixture of male and female, and in plants 
by seeds, keeps the supposed real species distinct and entire/ 7 18 In tech- 
nical language, Locke had no use for genetic evolution. 

On the other hand, Hume's train of thought unwittingly emphasizes 
'process/ His very scepticism is nothing but the discovery that there is 
something in the world which cannot be expressed in analytic proposi- 
tions. Hume discovered that "We murder to dissect/' He did not say 
this, because he belonged to the mid-eighteenth century; and so left the 
remark to Wordsworth. But, in [213] effect, Hume discovered that an ac- 
tual entity is at once a process, and is atomic; so that in no sense is it the 
sum of its parts. Hume proclaimed the bankruptcy of morphology. 

Hume's account of the process discoverable in 'the soul' is as follows: 
first, impressions of sensation, of unknown origin; then, ideas of such im- 
pressions, 'derived from' the impressions; then, impressions of reflection 
'derived from' the antecedent ideas; and then, ideas of impressions of re- 
flection. Somewhere in this process, there is to be found repetition of im- 
pressions, and thence by 'habit'— by which we may suppose that a par- 
ticular mode of 'derivation' is meant— by habit, a repetition of the cor- 
relate ideas; and thence expectancy of the repetition of the correlate im- 
pressions. This expectancy would be an 'impression or reflection.' It is 
difficult to understand why Hume exempts 'habit' from the same criticism 
as that applied to the notion of 'cause/ We have no 'impression' of 'habit/ 
just as we have no 'impression' of 'cause.' Cause, repetition, habit are all 
in the same boat. 

Somewhat inconsistently, Hume never allows impressions of sensation 
to be derived from the correlate ideas; though, as the difference between 
them only consists in 'force and vivacity,' the reason for this refusal can- 
not be found inl his philosophy. The truth is that Hume retained an 
obstinate belief in an external world which his principles forbade him to 
confess in his philosophical constructions. He reserved that belief for his 
daily life, and for his historical and sociological writings, and for his 
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, 

The merit of Hume's account is that the process described is within 

17 Italics mine. 

18 III, VI, 1,22,23. 

Locke and Hume 141 

'the soul/ In the philosophy of organism 'the soul' as it appears in Hume, 
and 'the mind' as it appears in Locke and Hume, are replaced by the 
phrases 'the actual entity/ and 'the actual occasion/ these phrases being 

Two defects, found equally in Locke and in Hume, are, first, the con- 
fusion between a Lockian 'idea' and [214] consciousness of such an idea; 
and, secondly, the assigned relations between 'ideas' of sensation and 
'ideas' of reflection.! In Hume's language, this latter point is concerned 
with the relations between 'impressions of sensation' and 'impressions of 
reflection.' Hume and Locke, with the overintellectualist bias prevalent 
among philosophers, assume that emotional feelings are necessarily deriva- 
tive from sensations. This is conspicuously not the case; the correlation 
between such feelings and sensations is on the whole a secondary effect. 
Emotions conspicuously brush aside sensations and fasten upon the 'par- 
ticular' objects to which— in Locke's phrase— certain 'ideas' are 'deter- 
mined. 7 The confinement of our prehension of other actual entities to the 
mediation of private sensations is pure myth. The converse doctrine is 
nearer the truth: the more primitive mode of objectification is via emo- 
tional tone, and only in exceptional organisms does objectification, via 
sensation, supervene with any effectiveness. In their doctrine on this 
point, Locke and Hume were probably only repeating the mediaeval tradi- 
tion, and they have passed on the tradition to their successors. None the 
less, the doctrine is founded upon no necessity of thought, and lacks 
empirical confirmation. If we consider the matter physiologically, the emo- 
tional tone depends mainly on the condition of the viscera which are 
peculiarly ineffective in generating sensations. Thus the whole notion of 
prehension should be inverted. We prehend other actual entities more 
primitively by direct mediation of emotional tone, and only secondarily 
and waveringly by direct mediation of sense. The two modes fuse with 
important effects upon our perceptive knowledge. This topic must be 
reserved (cf. Parts III and IV) for further discussion; but it is fundamental 
in the philosophy of organism. One difficulty in appealing to modern 
psychology, for the purpose of a preliminary survey of the nature of ex- 
perience, is that so much of that science is based upon the presupposition 
of the sensationalist mythology. Thus the sim- [215] pier, more naive sur- 
veys of Locke and Hume are philosophically the more useful. 

Later, in Part III, a 'prehension' will be analysed into 'prehending sub- 
ject/ 'object prehended/ and 'subjective form.' The philosophy of or- 
ganism follows Locke in admitting particular 'exterior things' into the 
category of 'object prehended.' It also follows Hume in his admission at 
the end of his Appendix to the Treatise: "Had I said, that two ideas of the 
same object can only be different by their different jeeling y I should have 
been nearer the truth." What Hume here calls 'feeling' is expanded in the 
philosophy of organism into the doctrine of 'subjective form.' But there is 
another ineradicable difference between some prehensions, namely, their 

142 Discussions and Applications 

diversity of prehending subjects, when the two prehensions are in that 
respect diverse. The subsequent uses of the term 'feeling' are in the sense 
of the positive' type of prehensions, and not in the sense in which Hume 
uses it in the above quotation. 

The approximation of the philosophy of organism to Santayana's doc- 
trine of 'animal faith' is effected by this doctrine of objectification by the 
mediation of 'feeling/ 

Santayana would deny that 'animal faith' has in it any element of given- 
ness. This denial is presumably made in deference to the sensationalist 
doctrine, that all knowledge of the external world arises by the mediation 
of private sensations. If we allow the term 'animal faith' to describe a 
kind of perception which has been neglected by the philosophic tradition, 
then practically the whole of Santayana's discussion 19 is in accord with 
the organic philosophy. 

The divergence from, and the analogy to, Santayana's doctrine can be 
understood by quoting two sentences: 
I propose therefore to use the word existence ... to designate not 
data of intuition but facts or events believed to occur in nature. These 
facts or events will include, first, intuitions themselves, or instances of 
con- [216] sciousness, like pains and pleasures and all remembered ex- 
periences and mental discourse; and second, physical things and 
events, having a transcendent relation to the data of intuition which, 
in belief, may be used as signs for them; . . .* 

It may be remarked in passing that this quotation illustrates Santayana's 
admirable clarity of thought, a characteristic which he shares with the men 
of genius of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Now the exact point 
where Santayana differs from the organic philosophy ist his implicit as- 
sumption that 'intuitions themselves* cannot be among the 'data of in- 
tuition/ that is to say, the data of other intuitions. This possibility is what 
Santayana denies and the organic philosophy asserts. In this respect 
Santayana is voicing the position which, implicitly or explicitly, pervades 
modern philosophy. He is only distinguished by his clarity of thought. If 
Santayana's position be granted, there is a phenomenal veil, a primitive 
credulity associated with action and valuation, and a mysterious symbolism 
from the veil to the realities behind the veil. The only difference between 
such philosophers lies in their reading of the symbolism, some read more 
and some less. There can be no decision between them, since there are no 
rational principles which penetrate from the veil to the dark background of 

The organic philosophy denies this doctrine because, first, it is contrary 
to naive experience; secondly, 'memory' is a very special instance of an 
antecedent act of experience becoming a datum of intuition for another 
act of experience; thirdly, the rejected doctrine is derived from the mis- 

19 Cf . his Scepticism and Animal Faith. 

Locke and Hume 143 

conception of Locke, already noted previously (cf. Part II, Ch. I, Sect. 
VI), that logical simplicity can be identified with priority in the con- 
crescent process. Locke, in his first two books,t attempts to build up 
experience from the basic elements of simple 'ideas' of, sensation. These 
simple ideas are practically Santayana's 'intuitions of essences. 7 Santayana 
explicitly [217] repudiates the misconception, but in so doing he knocks 
away one of the supports of his doctrine. A fourth reason for the rejection 
of the doctrine is that the way is thereby opened for a rational scheme of 
cosmology in which a final reality is identified with acts of experience. 



[218] A comparison of thet different ways in which Descartes and Locke 
respectively conceived the scope of their investigations at once discloses the 
very important shift which Locke introduced into the tradition of philo- 
sophic thought. Descartes asked the fundamental metaphysical question, 
What is it to be an actual entity? He found three kinds of actual entities, 
namely, cogitating minds, extended bodies, and God. His word for an 
actual entity was 'substance/ The fundamental proposition, whereby the 
analysis of actuality could be achieved, took the form of predicating a 
quality of the substance in question. A quality was either an accident or an 
essential attribute. In the Cartesian philosophy there was room for three 
distinct kinds of change: one was the change of accidents of an enduring 
substance; another was the origination of an individual substance; and the 
third was the cessation of the existence of an enduring substance. Any 
individual belonging to either of the first two kinds of substances did not 
require any other individual of either of these kinds in order to exist. But 
it did require the concurrence of God. Thus the essential attributes of a 
mind were its dependence on God and its cogitations; and the essential 
attributes of a body were its dependence on God and its extension. Des- 
cartes does not apply the term 'attribute' to the 'dependence on God ? ; but 
it is an essential element in his philosophy. It is quite obvious that the 
accidental relationships between diverse individual substances form a great 
difficulty for Descartes. If they are to be included in his scheme of the 
actual [219] world, they must be qualities of a substance. Thus a relation- 
ship is the correlation of a pair of qualities,! one belonging exclusively to 
one individual, and the other exclusively to the other individual. The cor- 
relaton itself must be referred to God as one of his accidental qualities. 
This is exactly Descartes' procedure in his theory of representative ideas. 
In this theory, the perceived individual has one quality; the perceiving in- 
dividual has anothert quality which is the 'idea' representing this quality; 
God is aware of the correlation; and the perceiver's knowledge of God 
guarantees for him the veracity of his idea. It is unnecessary to criticize 
this very artificial account of what common sense believes to be our direct 
knowledge of other actual entities. But it is the only account consistent 
with the metaphysical materials provided by Descartes, combined with his 
assumption of a multiplicity of actual entities. In this assumption of a 


From Descartes To Kant 145 

multiplicity of actual entities the philosophy of organism follows Des- 
cartes. It is, however! obvious that there are only two ways out of Descartes* 
difficulties; one way is to have recourse to some form of monism; the other 
way is to reconstruct Descartes' metaphysical machinery. 

But Descartes asserts one principle which is the basis of all philosophy: 
he holds that the whole pyramid of knowledge is based upon the im- 
mediate operation of knowing which is either an essential (for Descartes), 
or a contributory, element in the composition of an immediate actual en- 
tity. This is also a first principle for the philosophy of organism. But 
Descartes allowed the subject-predicate form of proposition, and the 
philosophical tradition derived from it, to dictate his subsequent meta- 
physical development. For his philosophy, 'actuality' meant 'to be a sub- 
stance with inhering qualities/ For the philosophy of organism, the per- 
cipient occasion is its own standard of actuality. If in its knowledge other 
actual entities appear, it can only be because they conform to its standard 
of actuality. There can only be [220] evidence of a world of actual entities, 
if the immediate actual entity discloses them as essential to its own com- 
position. Descartes' notion of an unessential experience of the external 
world is entirely alien to the organic philosophy. This is the root point of 
divergence; and is the reason why the organic philosophy has to abandon 
any approach to the substance-quality notion of actuality. The organic 
philosophy interprets experience as meaning the 'self-enjoyment of being 
one among many, and of being one arising out of the composition of 
many/ Descartes interprets experience as meaning the 'self-enjoyment, by 
an individual substance, of its qualification by ideas/ t 


Locke explicitly discards metaphysics. His enquiry has a limited scope: 
This therefore being my purpose, to inquire into the original, cer- 
tainty, and extent of human knowledge, together with the grounds and 
degrees of belief, opinion, and assent, I shall not at present meddle 
with the physical consideration of the mind, or trouble myself to 
examine wherein its essence consists, ... It shall suffice to my present 
purpose, to consider the discerning faculties of a man as they are em- 
ployed about the objects which they have to do with; . . } 

The enduring importance of Locke's work comes from the candour, 
clarity, and adequacy with which he stated the evidence, uninfluenced by 
the bias of metaphysical theory. He explained, in the sense of stating 
plainly, and not in the more usual sense of 'explaining away/ By an ironic 
development in the history of thought, Locke's successors, who arrogated 
to themselves the title of 'empiricists,' have been chiefly employed in ex- 
plaining away the obvious facts of experience in obedience to the a priori 
doctrine of sensationalism, inherited from the mediaeval philosophy which 

1 Essay, I, I, 2. 

146 Discussions and Applications 

they despised. Locke's Essay is the invaluable storehouse for those who 
wish to [221] confront their metaphysical constructions by a recourse to 
the facts. 

Hume clipped his explanation by this a priori theory, which he states 
explicitly in the first quotation made from his Treatise in the previous 
chapter. It cannot be too often repeated: 
We may observe, that it is universally allowed by philosophers, and is 
besides pretty obvious of itself, that nothing is ever really present with 
the mind but its perceptions f or impressions and ideas, and that ex- 
ternal objects become known to us only by those perceptions they 
occasion. To hate, to love, to think, to feel, to see; all this is nothing 
but to perceive. 

Hume, in agreement with what 'is universally allowed by philosophers/ 
interprets this statement in a sensationalist sense. In accordance with 
this sense, an impression is nothing else than a particular instance of the 
mind's awareness of a universal, which may either be simple, or may be a 
manner of union of many simple universals. For Hume, hating, loving, 
thinking, feeling, are nothing but perceptions derivate from these funda- 
mental impressions. This is the a priori sensationalist dogma, which bounds 
all Hume's discoveries in the realm of experience. It is probable that this 
dogma was in Locke's mind throughout the earlier portion of his Essay. 
But Locke was not seeking consistency with any a priori dogma. He also 
finds in experience 'ideas' with characteristics which 'determine them to 
this or that particular existent.' Such inconsistency with their dogma 
shocks empiricists, who refuse to admit experience, naked and unashamed, 
devoid of their a priori figleaf. Locke is merely stating what, in practice, 
nobody doubts. But Locke would have agreed with Hume in refusing to 
admit that 'ideas of reflection' may be directly 'determined to some par- 
ticular existent,' without the intervention of 'ideas of sensation.' In this 
respect, Locke was a sensationalist, and the philosophy of organism is not 
sensationalist. But Locke's avoidance of metaphysics only led him up to a 
stage of thought for which meta- [222] physics is essential to clarity. The 
questions as to the status of a 'particular existent,' and of an 'idea deter- 
mined to a particular existent,' demand metaphysical discussion. Locke is 
never tired of disparaging the notion of 'substance'; but he gives no hint of 
alternative categories which he would employ to analysef the notions of 
an 'actual entity' and of 'reality.' But his Essay, however, does contain a 
line of thought which can be developed into a metaphysic. In the first 
place, he distinctly holds that ideas of particular existents— for example, 
the child's idea of its mother —constitute the fundamental data which the 
mental functioning welds into a unity by a determinate process of ab- 
sorption, including comparison, emphasis, and abstraction. He also holds 
that 'powers' are to be ascribed to particular existents whereby the con- 
stitutions of other particulars are conditioned. Correlatively, he holds that 
the constitutions of particular existents must be described so as to exhibit 

From Descartes To Kant 147 

their 'capacities' for being conditioned by such 'powers' in other particulars. 
He also holds that all qualities have in some sense a relational element in 
them. Perhaps, though Locke does not say so, this notion of the relational 
element in qualities is illustrated in the following passage: "Besides, there 
is scarce any particular thing existing, which, in some of its simple ideas, 
does not communicate with a greater, and in others with a less, number of 
particular beings: . . ." 2 Locke here expresses the notion of an identity be- 
tween two simple ideas in the form of a 'communication' between the par- 
ticular existents which possess that common quality. This passage also 
illustrates Locke's habit of employing the term 'idea't in a sense other than 
particular content of an act of awareness. Finally, Locke's notion of the 
passage of time is that something is 'perpetually perishing/ If he had 
grasped the notion that the actual entity 'perishes' in the passage of time, 
so that no actual entity changes, he would have arrived [223] at the point 
of view of the philosophy of organism. What he does say, is "perpetually 
perishing parts of succession." 3 Here, as elsewhere, Locke's neglect of 
ultimate questions revenges itself upon him. Nothing can make the var- 
ious parts of his Essay mutually consistent. He never revises the sub- 
stance-quality categories which remain presupposed throughout his Essay. 
In the first two books of the Essay , he professes to lay the foundations of 
his doctrine of ideas. These books are implicitly dominated by the notion 
of the ideas as mere qualifications of the substrate mind. In the third book 
of the Essay he is apparently passing on to the application of his estab- 
lished doctrine of ideas to the subordinate question of the function of 
language. But he tacitly introduces a new doctrine of ideas, which is dif- 
ficult to conciliate with the sensationalist doctrine of the preceding books. 
Hume concentrates upon the doctrine of Locke's earlier books; the phi- 
losophy of organism concentrates upon that of the later books in the Essay. 
If Locke's Essay is to be interpreted as a consistent scheme of thought, un- 
doubtedly Hume is right; but such an interpretation offers violence to 
Locke's contribution to philosophy. 


In the philosophy of organism it is assumed that an actual entity is 
composite. 'Actuality* is the fundamental exemplification of composition; 
all other meanings of 'composition' are referent to this root-meaning. But 
'actuality' is a general term, which merely indicates this ultimate type of 
composite unity: there are many composite unities to which this general 
term applies. There is no general fact of composition, not expressible in 
terms of the composite constitutions of the individual occasions. Every 
proposition is entertained in the constitution of some one actual entity, or 
severally in the constitutions of many actual entities. This is only [224] 

* Essay, III, IX, 14. 
3 II, XIV, 1. 

148 Discussions and Applications 

another rendering of the 'ontological principle/ It follows from the on- 
tological principle, thus interpreted, that the notion of a 'common world' 
must find its exemplification in the constitution of each actual entity, taken 
by itself for analysis. For an actual entity cannot be a member of a 'com- 
mon world/ except in the sense that the 'common world' is a constituent 
of its own constitution. It follows that every item of the universe, includ- 
ing all the other actual entities, is a constituentt in the constitution of any 
one actual entity. This conclusion has already been employed under the 
title of the principle of relativity/ This principle of relativity is the axiom 
by which the ontological principle is rescued from issuing in an extreme 
monism. Hume adumbrates this principle in his notion of 'repetition/ 

Some principle is now required to rescue actual entities from being 
undifferentiated repetitions, each of the other, with mere numerical di- 
versity. This requisite is supplied by the 'principle of intensive relevance/ 
The notion of intensive relevance is fundamental for the meaning of such 
concepts as 'alternative possibilities/ 'more or less/ 'important or negli- 
gible. 7 The principle asserts that any item of the universe, however pre- 
posterous as an abstract thought, or however remote as an actual entity, 
has its own gradation of relevance, as prehended, in the constitution of any 
one actual entity: it might have had more relevance: and it might have had 
less relevance, including the zero of relevance involved in the negative 
prehension; but in fact it has just that relevance whereby it finds its 
status in the constitution of that actual entity. It will be remembered that 
Hume finds it necessary to introduce the notion of variations in 'force and 
vivacity/ He is here making a particular application— and, as I believe, an 
unsuccessful application— of the general principle of intensive relevance. 

There is interconnection between the degrees of relevance of different 
items in the same actual entity. This fact of interconnection is asserted in 
the 'principle of \225] compatibility and contrariety/ There are items 
which, in certain respective gradations of relevance, are contraries to each 
other; so that those items, with their respective intensities of relevance, 
cannot coexist in the constitution of one actual entity. If some group of 
items, with their variety of relevance, can coexist in one actual entity, then 
the group, as thus variously relevant, is a compatible group. The various 
specific essences of one genus, whereby an actual entity may belong to one 
or other of the species but cannot belong to more than one, illustrate the 
incompatibility between two groups of items. Also in so far as a specific 
essence is complex, the specific essence is necessarily composed of com- 
patible items, if there has been any exemplification of that species. But 
'feelings' are the entities which are primarily 'compatible 7 or 'incom- 
patible/ All other usages of these terms are derivative. 

The words 'real' and 'potential 7 are, in this exposition, taken in senses 
which are antithetical. In their primary senses, they qualify the 'eternal 
objects/ These eternal objects determine how the world of actual entities 
enters into the constitution of each one of its members via its feelings. 

From Descartes To Kant 149 

And they also express how the constitution of any one actual entity is 
analysable into phases, related as presupposed and presupposing. Eternal 
objects express how the predecessor-phase is absorbed into the successor- 
phaset without limitation of itself, but with additions necessary for the 
determination of an actual unity in the form of individual satisfaction. The 
actual entities enter into each others' constitutions under limitations im- 
posed by incompatibilities 4 of feelings. Such incompatibilities relegate 
various elements in the constitutions of felt objects to the intensive zero, 
which is termed 'irrelevance/ The preceding phases enter into their succes- 
sors with additions which eliminate the inde- [226] terminations. The how 
of the limitations, and the how of the additions, are alike the realization of 
eternal objects in the constitution of the actual entity in question. An 
eternal object in abstraction from any one particular actual entity is a 
potentiality for ingression into actual entities. In its ingression into any 
one actual entity, either as or as irrelevant, it retains its poten- 
tiality of indefinite diversity of modes of ingression, a potential indeter- 
mination rendered determinate in this instance. The definite ingression 
into a particular actual entity is not to be conceived as the sheer evocation 
of that eternal object from 'not-being' into 'being'; it is the evocation of 
determination out of indetermination. Potentiality becomes reality; and 
yet retains its message of alternatives which the actual entity has avoided. 
In the constitution of an actual entity: —what ever component is red, might 
have been green; and whatever component is loved, might have been 
coldly esteemed. The term 'universal' is unfortunate in its application to 
eternal objects; for it seems to deny, and in fact it was meant to deny, that 
the actual entities also fall within the scope of the principle of relativity. 
If the term 'eternal objects' is disliked, the term 'potentials' would be 
suitable. The eternal objects are the pure potentials of the universe; and 
the actual entities differ from each other in their realization of potentials. 
Locke's term 'idea,' in his primary use of it in the first two books of the 
Essay, means the determinate ingression of an eternal object into the ac- 
tual entity in question. But he also introduces the limitation t to conscious 
mentality, which is here abandoned. 

Thus in the philosophy of organism, Locke's first use of the term 'idea' 
is covered by the doctrine of the 'ingression 7 of eternal objects into actual 
entities; and his second use of the same term is covered by the doctrine of 
the 'objectification' of actual entities. The two doctrines cannot be ex- 
plained apart from each other: they constitute explanations of the two 
fundamental principles— [227] the ontological principle and the principle 
of relativity. 

The four stages constitutive of an actual entity have been stated above 
in Part II, Chapter III, Section I. They can be named, datum, process, 

4 Dr. H. M. Sheffer has pointed out the fundamental logical importance of the 
notion of 'incompatibility'; cf. Trans. Amer. Math. Soc.,f Vol. XIV, pp. 481- 
488; and Introduction to Vol. 1 of Principia Mathematica (2nd edition). 

150 Discussions and Applications 

satisfaction, decision. The two terminal stages have to do with 'becoming' 
in the sense of the transition from the settled actual world to the new- 
actual entity relatively to which that settlement is defined. But such 
'definition* must be found as an element in the actual entities concerned. 
The 'settlement' which an actual entity 'finds' is its datum. It is to be con- 
ceived as a limited perspective of the 'settled' world provided by the 
eternal objects concerned. This datum is 'decided' by the settled world. 
It is 'prehended' by the new superseding entity. The datum is the ob- 
jective content of the experience. The decision, providing the datum, is a 
transference of self-limited appetition; the settled world provides the 'real 
potentiality' that its many actualities be felt compatibly; and the new 
concrescence starts from this datum. The perspective is provided by the 
elimination of incompatibilities. The final stage, the 'decision/ is how the 
actual entity, having attained its individual 'satisfaction/ thereby adds a 
determinate condition to the settlement for the future beyond itself. Thus 
the 'datum' is the 'decision received/ and the 'decision' is the 'decision 
transmitted/ Between these two decisions, received and transmitted, there 
lie the two stages, 'process 7 and 'satisfaction.' The datum is indeterminate 
as regards the final satisfaction. The 'process' is the addition of those ele- 
ments of feeling whereby these indeterminations are dissolved into de- 
terminate linkages attaining the actual unity of an individual actual entity. 
The actual entity, in becoming itself, also solves the question as to what 
it is to be. Thus process is the stage in which the creative idea works 
towards the definition and attainment of a determinate individuality. 
Process is the growth and attainment of a final end. The progressive defini- 
[228] tion of the final end is the efficacious condition for its attainment. 
The determinate unity of an actual entity is bound together by the final 
causation towards an ideal progressively defined by its progressive relation 
to the determinations and indeterminations of the datum. The ideal, itself 
felt, defines what 'self shall arise from the datum; and the ideal is also 
an element in the self which thus arises. 

According to this account, efficient causation expresses the transition 
from actual entity to actual entity; and final causation expresses the in- 
ternal process whereby the actual entity becomes itself. There is the be- 
coming of the datum, which is to be found in the past of the world; and 
there is the becoming of the immediate self from the datum. This latter 
becoming is the immediate actual process. An actual entity is at once the 
product of the efficient past, and is also, in Spinoza's phrase, causa sui. 
Every philosophy recognizes, in some form or other, this factor of self- 
causation, in what it takes to be ultimate actual fact. Spinoza's words have 
already been quoted. Descartes' argument, from the very fact of thinking, 
assumes that this freely determined operation is thereby constitutive of an 
occasion in the endurance of an actual entity. He writes (Meditation II) : 
"I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I 

From Descartes To Kant 151 

mentally conceive it." Descartes in his own philosophy conceives the 
thinker as creating the occasional thought. The philosophy of organism 
inverts the order, and conceives the thought as a constituent operation in 
the creation of the occasional thinker. The thinker is the final end whereby 
there is the thought. In this inversion we have the final contrast between a 
philosophy of substance and a philosophy of organism. The operations of 
an organism are directed towards the organism as a 'superject/ and are not 
directed from the organism as a 'subject/ The operations are directed from 
antecedent organisms and to the immediate organism. They are Vectors/ 
in that they convey the many [229] things into the constitution of the 
single super ject. The creative process is rhythmic: it swings from the 
publicity of many things to the individual privacy; and it swings back from 
the private individual to the publicity of the objectified individual. The 
former swing is dominated by the final cause, which is the ideal; and the 
latter swing is dominated by the efficient cause, t which is actual. 


From the point of view of the philosophy of organism, the credit must 
be given to Hume that he emphasized the 'process' inherent in the fact of 
being a mind. His analysis of that process is faulty in its details. It was 
bound to be so; because, with Locke, he misconceived his problem to be 
the analysis of mental operations. He should have conceived it as the anal- 
ysis of operations constituent of actual entities. He would then have 
found mental operations in their proper place. Kant followed Hume in 
this misconception; and was thus led to balance the world upon thought- 
oblivious to the scanty supply of thinking. But Hume, Kant, and the 
philosophy of organism agree that the task of the critical reason is the 
analysis of constructs; and 'construction' is 'process/ Hume's analysis of 
the construct which constitutes a mental occasion is: impressions of sen- 
sation, ideas of impressions of sensation, impressions of reflection, ideas of 
impressions of reflection. This analysis may be found obscurely in Locke. 
But Hume exhibits it as an orderly process; and then endeavours— and 
fails— to express in terms of it our ordinary beliefs, in which he shares. 

For subsequent empiricists the pleasure of the dogma has overcome the 
metaphysical rule of evidence: that we must bow to those presumptions, 
which, in despite of criticism, we still employ for the regulation of our 
lives. Such presumptions are imperative in experience. Rationalism is 
the search for the coherence of such presumptions. Hume, in his series of 
ideas and of impressions, derivates from impressions of sensation, im- 
plicitly allows \230) that the building-up of experience is a process of addi- 
tion to original data. The philosophy of organism, in this respect, agrees with 
Hume. It disagrees with Hume as to the proper characterization of the 
primary data. In Hume's philosophy the primary impressions are char- 
acterized in terms of universals, e.g., in the first section of his Treatise he 

152 Discussions and Applications 

refers to the colour 'red 7 as an illustration. This is also the doctrine of the 
first two books of Locke's Essay. But in Locke's third book a different 
doctrine appears, and the primary data are explicitly said to be 'ideas of 
particular existents.' According to Locke's second doctrine, the ideas of 
universals are derived from these primary data by a process of comparison 
and analysis. The philosophy of organism agrees in principle with this 
second doctrine of Locke's. It is difficult, and trifling, to determine the 
exact extent of the agreement; because the expositions of Locke and Hume 
bring in the very derivative operations involving consciousness. The or- 
ganic philosophy does not hold that the 'particular existents' are prehended 
apart from universals; on the contrary, it holds that they are prehended by 
the mediation of universals. In other words, each actuality is prehended 
by means of some element of its own definiteness. This is the doctrine of 
the 'objectification' of actual entities. Thus the primary stage in the con- 
crescence of an actual entity is the way in which the antecedent universe 
enters into the constitution of the entity in question, so as to constitute the 
basis of its nascent individuality. A converse way of looking at this truth is 
that the relevance to other actual entities of its own status in the actual 
world t is the initial datum in the process of its concrescence. When it is 
desired to emphasize this interpretation of the datum, the phrase 'objec- 
tive content' will be used synonymously with the term 'datum. 7 Of course, 
strictly speaking, the universals, to which Hume confines the datum, are 
also 'objects'; but the phrase 'objective content' is meant to emphasize the 
doctrine of 'objectificarion' of actual entities. If experi- \231] ence be not 
based upon an objective content, there can be no escape from a solipsist 
subjectivism. But Hume, and Locke in his main doctrine, fail to provide 
experience with any objective content. Kant, fort whom 'process' is 
mainly a process of thought, accepts Hume's doctrine as to the 'datum' 
and turns the 'apparent' objective content into the end of the construct. 
So far, Kant's 'apparent' objective content seems to take the place of the 
'satisfaction' in the philosophy of organism. In this way there can be no 
real escape from the solipsist difficulty. But Kant in his appeal to 'practical 
reason' admits also the 'satisfaction' in a sense analogous to that in the 
philosophy of organism; and by an analysis of its complex character he 
arrives at ultimate actualities which, according to his account, cannot be 
discovered by any analysis of 'mere appearance.' This is a very complex 
doctrine, which has been reproduced in all philosophies derivative from 
Kant. The doctrine gives each actual entity two worlds, one world of mere 
appearance, and the other world compact of ultimate substantial fact. On 
this point, as to the absence of 'objective content' in the datum for ex- 
perience, Santayana 5 seems to agree with Hume and Kant. But if his in- 
troduction of 'animal faith' is to be taken as a re-examination of the datum 
under the influence of the sceptical conclusion from Hume's doctrine, then 
5 Cf . Scepticism and Animal Faith. 

From Descartes To Kant 153 

he, as his second doctrine, is practically reasserting Locke's second doc- 
trine. But if he is appealing to 'practice' away from the critical examina- 
tion of our sources of information, he must be classed with Hume and 
Kant, although differing from them in every detail of procedure. 

In view of the anti-rationalism of Hume's contented appeal to 'practice/ 
it is very difficult to understand— except as another example of anti-ra- 
tionalism— the strong objection, entertained by Hume and by his 'em- 
piricist' followers, to the anti-rationalistic basis of some forms of religious 
faith. This strain of anti-rationalism [232] which Locke and Hume ex- 
plicitly introduced into philosophy marks the final triumph of the anti- 
rationalistic reaction against the rationalism of the Middle Ages. Ration- 
alism is the belief that clarity can only be reached by pushing explanation 
to its utmost limits. Locke, who hoped to attain final clarity in his analysis 
of human understanding in divorce from metaphysics, was, so far, an anti- 
rationalist. But Hume, in so far as he is to be construed as remaining con- 
tent with two uncoordinated sets of beliefs, one based on the critical ex- 
amination of our sources of knowledge, and the other on the uncritical + 
examination of beliefs involved in 'practice,' reaches the high watermark 
of anti-rationalism in philosophy; for 'explanation' is the analysis of 


The process whereby an actual entity, starting from its objective con- 
tent, attains its individual satisfaction, will be more particularly analysed 
in Part III. The primary character of this process is that it is individual to 
the actual entity; it expresses how the datum, which involves the actual 
world, becomes a component in the one actual entity. There must there- 
fore be no further reference to other actual entities; the elements available 
for the explanation are simply, the objective content, eternal objects, and 
the selective concrescence of feelings whereby an actual entity becomes 
itself. It must be remembered that the objective content is analysable into 
actual entities under limited perspectives provided by their own natures: 
these limited perspectives involve eternal objects in grades of relevance. If 
the 'process' were primarily a process of understanding, we should have to 
note that 'grades of relevance' are only other eternal objects in grades of 
relevance, and so on indefinitely. But we have not the sort of understand- 
ings which embrace such indefinite progressions. Accordingly there is here 
a vicious regress, if the process be essentially a process of understanding. 
But this is not the primary [233] description of it; the process is a process 
of 'feeling.' In feeling, what is felt is not necessarily analysed; in under- 
standing, what is understood is analysed, in so far as it is understood. Un- 
derstanding is a special form of feeling. Thus there is no vicious regress in 
feeling, by reason of the indefinite complexity of what is felt. Kant, in his 

154 Discussions and Applications 

'Transcendental Aesthetic/ 1 emphasizes the doctrine that in intuition a 
complex datum is intuited as one. 

Again the selection involved in the phrase 'selective concrescence* is not 
a selection among the components of the objective content; for, by hy- 
pothesis, the objective content is a datum. The compatibilities and in- 
compatibilities which impose the perspective, transforming the actual 
world into the datum, are inherent in the nature of things. Thus the 
selection is a selection of relevant eternal objects whereby what is a 
datum from without is transformed into its complete determination as a 
fact within. The problem whicht the concrescence solves is, how the many 
components of the objective content are to be unified in one felt content 
with its complex subjective form. This one felt content is the 'satisfaction/ 
whereby the actual entity is its particular individual self; to use Descartes' 
phrase, 'requiring nothing but itself in order to exist/ In the conception of 
the actual entity in its phase of satisfaction, the entity has attained its in- 
dividual separation from other things; it has absorbed the datum, and it 
has not yet lost itself in the swing back to the 'decision' whereby its ap- 
petition becomes an element in the data of other entities superseding it. 
Time has stood still—if only it could. 

Thus process is the admission of eternal objects in their new role of 
investing the datum with the individuality of the subject. The datum,* 
quat mere datum, includes the many individualities of the actual world. 
The satisfaction includes these many individualities as subordinate con- 
tributors to the one individuality. The process admits or rejects t eternal 
objects which by their absorption into the subjective forms of the many 
feelings [234] effect this integration. The attainment of satisfaction rele- 
gates all eternal objects which are not 'felt' either as determinants of 
definiteness in the data,t or as determinants of definiteness in the subjective 
form of the satisfaction, into the status of contraries to the eternal objects 
which are thus felt. Thus all indeterminations respecting the potentialities 
of the universe are definitely solved so far as concerns the satisfaction of 
the subject in question. 

The process can be analysed genetically into a series of subordinate 
phases which presuppose their antecedents. Neither the intermediate 
phases, nor the datum which is the primary phase of all, determine the 
final phase of determinate individualization. Thus an actual entity, on its 
^subjective side, is nothing else than what the universe is for it, including 
its own reactions. The reactions are the subjective forms of the feelings, 
elaborated into definiteness through stages of process. An actual entity 
achieves its own unity by its determinate feelings respecting every item of 
the datum. Every individual objectification in the datum has its perspec- 
tive defined by its own eternal objects with their own relevance compatible 
with the relevance of other objectifications. Each such objectification, and 
each such complex of objectifications, in the datum is met with a corre- 
spondent feeling, with its determinate subjective form, until the many 

From Descartes To Kant 155 

become one experience, the satisfaction. The philosophies of substance 
presuppose a subject which then encounters a datum, and then reacts to 
the datum. The philosophy of organism presupposes a datum which is met 
with feelings, and progressively attains the unity of a subject. But with 
this doctrine, 'superject' would be a better term than 'subject/ Locke's 
'ideas of reflection' are the feelings, in so far as they have entered into 

It is by reference to feelings that the notion of 'immediacy' obtains its 
meaning. The mere objectification of actual entities by eternal objects 
lacks 'immediacy/ It is 'repetition'; and this is a contrary to 'immediacy.' 
[235] But 'process' is the rush of feelings whereby second-handedness at- 
tains subjective immediacy; in this way, subjective form overwhelms repe- 
tition, and transforms it into immediately felt satisfaction; objectivity is 
absorbed into subjectivity. It is useful to compare this analysis of the 
construction of an act of experience with Kant's. In the first place Kant's 
act of experience is essentially knowledge. Thus whatever is not knowledge 
is necessarily inchoate, and merely on its way to knowledge. In comparing 
Kant's procedure with that of the philosophy of organism, it must be 
remembered that an 'apparent' objective content is the end of Kant's 
process, and thus takes the place of 'satisfaction' in the process as analysed 
in the philosophy of organism. In Kant's phraseology at the beginning of 
the Critique of Pure Reason, this 'apparent' objective content is referred to 
as 'objects.' He also accepts Hume's sensationalist account of the datum. 
Kant places this sentence at the commencement of the Critique: "Objects 
therefore are given to us through our sensibility. Sensibility alone supplies 
us with intuitions. These intuitions become thought through the under- 
standing, and hence arise conceptions." 6 This is expanded later in a form 
which makes Kant's adhesion to Hume's doctrine of the datum more 

And here we see that the impressions of the senses give the first im- 
pulse to the whole faculty of knowledge with respect to them, and 
thus produce experience which consists of two very heterogeneous 
elements, namely, matter for knowledge, derived from the senses \eine 
Materiel zur Erkenntniss aus den Sinnen] f and a certain form accord- 
ing to which it is arranged, derived from the internal source of pure 
intuition and pure thought, first brought into action by the former, 
and then producing concepts. 7 

Thoughts with- [236] out content are empty, intuitions without con- 
cepts are blind. 8 

6 "Vermittelst der Sinnlichkeit also werden uns Gegenstande gegeben, und sic 
allein liefert uns Anschauungenjf durch den Verstand aber werden sie gedacht, 
und von ihm entspringen BegrirTe." Translation in the text is Max Muller's. 

7 Transcendental Analytic,' f Ch. II, Sect. I (Max Muller). 

8 'Transcendental Logic,' Introduction, Sect. L* 

156 Discussions and Applications 

In this last statement the philosophy of organism is in agreement with 
Kant; but for a different reason. It is agreed that the functioning of 
concepts is an essential factor in knowledge, so that 'intuitions without 
concepts are blind/ But for Kant, apart from concepts there is nothing to 
know; since objects related in a knowable world are the product of con- 
ceptual functioning whereby categoreal form is introduced into the sense- 
datum, which otherwise is intuited in the form of a mere spatio-temporal 
flux of sensations. Knowledge requires that this mere flux be particularized 
by conceptual functioning, whereby the flux is understood as a nexus of 
'objects/ Thus for Kant the process whereby there is experience is a 
process from subjectivity to apparent objectivity. The philosophy of or- 
ganism inverts this analysis, and explains the process as proceeding from 
objectivity to subjectivity, namely, from the objectivity, whereby the ex- 
ternal world is a datum, to the subjectivity, whereby there is one in- 
dividual experience. Thus, according to the philosophy of organism, in 
every act of experience there are objects for knowledge; but, apart from 
the inclusion of intellectual functioning in that act of experience, there is 
no knowledge. 

We have now come to Kant, the great philosopher who first, fully and 
explicitly, introduced into philosophy the conception of an act of ex- 
perience as a constructive functioning, transforming subjectivity into ob- 
jectivity 7 , or objectivity into subjectivity; the order is immaterial in com- 
parison with the general idea. We find the first beginnings of the notion in 
Locke and in Hume. Indeed, in Locke, the process is conceived in its 
correct order, at least in the view of the philosophy of organism. But the 
whole notion is only vaguely and inadequately conceived. The full sweep 
of the notion is due to Kant. The second half of the modern period of 
philosophical thought is to be dated from Hume and Kant. In it the [237] 
development of cosmology has been hampered by the stress laid upon one, 
or other, of three misconceptions: 

(i) The substance-quality doctrine of actuality. 

(ii) The sensationalist doctrine of perception. 

(iii) The Kantian doctrine of the objective world as a construct from 
subjective experience. 

The combined influence of these allied errors has been to reduce philos- 
ophy to a negligible influence in the formation of contemporary modes 
of thought. Hume himself introduces the ominous appeal to 'practice- 
not in criticism of his premises, but in supplement to his conclusions. 
Bradley, who repudiates Hume, finds the objective world in which we live, 
and move, and have our being, 'inconsistent if taken as real/ Neither side 
conciliates philosophical conceptions of a real world with the world of 
daily experience. 



[238] It is impossible to scrutinize too carefully the character to be as- 
signed to the datum in the act of experience. The whole philosophical 
system depends on it. Hume's doctrine of 'impressions of sensation' (Trea- 
tise, Book I, Part I, Sect. II) is twofold. I will call one part of his doctrine 
'The Subjectivist Principle' and the other part 'The Sensationalist Prin- 
ciple/ It is usual to combine the two under the heading of the 'sensation- 
alist doctrine'; but two principles are really involved, and many philos- 
ophers—Locke, for instance— are not equally consistent in their adhesion 
to both of them. The philosophy of organism denies both of these doc- 
trines, in the form in which they are considered in this chapter, though it 
accepts a reformed subjectivist principle (cf. Sect. Vf below and Part II, 
Ch. IX). Locke accepted the sensationalist principle, and was inconsistent 
in his statements respecting the subjectivist principle. With the exception 
of some lapses, he accepted the latter in the first two books of his Essay, 
and rejected it tacitly, but persistently, in the third and fourth books. 
Kant (in the Critique of Pure Reason) accepted the subjectivist principle, 
and rejected the sensationalist principle. 

The sensationalist principle acquires dominating importance, if the 
subjectivist principle be accepted. Kant's realization of this importance 
constituted the basis of his contribution to philosophy. The history of 
modern philosophy is the story of attempts to evade the inflexible con- 
sequences of the subjectivist principle, explicitly or implicitly accepted. 
The great merit of Hume and of [239] Kant is the explicitness with which 
they faced the difficulty. 

The subjectivist principle is, that the datum in the act of experience can 
be adequately analysed purely in terms of universals. 

The sensationalist principle is, that the primary activity in the act of 
experience is the bare subjective entertainment of the datum, devoid of 
any subjective form of reception. This is the doctrine of mere sensation. 

The subjectivist principle follows from three premises: (i) The ac- 
ceptance of the 'substance-quality' concept as expressing the ultimate on- 
tological principle, (ii) The acceptance of Aristotle's definition of a pri- 
mary substance, as always a subject and never a predicate, (in) The 
assumption that the experient subject is a primary substance. The first 
premise states that the final metaphysical fact is always to be expressed as 


158 Discussions and Applications 

a quality inhering in a substance. The second premise divides qualities and 
primary substances into two mutually exclusive classes. The two premises 
together are the foundation of the traditional distinction between uni- 
versal and particulars. The philosophy of organism denies the premises on 
which this distinction is founded. It admits two ultimate classes of entities, 
mutually exclusive. One class consists of 'actual entities/ which in the 
philosophical tradition are mis-described as 'particulars'; and the other 
class consists of forms of definiteness, here named 'eternal objects/ which 
in comparison with actual entities are mis-described as 'universals.' These 
mis-descriptions have already been considered (Part II, Ch. I, Sect. V). 

Descartes held, with some flashes of inconsistency arising from the use 
of 'realitas objectiva/ the subjectivist principle as to the datum. But he 
also held that this mitigation of the subjeetivist* principle enabled the 
'process' within experience to include a sound argument for the existence 
of God; and thence a sound argument for the general veridical character of 
those presumptions [240] as to the external world which somehow arise 
in the process. 

According to the philosophy of organism, it is only by the introduction 
of covert inconsistencies into the subjectivist principle, as here stated, that 
there can be any escape from what Santayana calls, 'solipsism of the pres- 
ent moment/ Thus Descartes' mode of escape is either illusory, or its 
premises are incompletely stated. This covert introduction is always arising 
because common sense is inflexibly objectivist. We perceive other things 
which are in the world of actualities in the same sense as we are. Also our 
emotions are directed towards other things, including of course our bodily 
organs. These are our primary beliefs which philosophers proceed to 

Now philosophy has always proceeded on the sound principle that its 
generalizations f must be based upon the primary elements in actual ex- 
perience as starting-points. Greek philosophy had recourse to the common 
forms of language to suggest its generalizations. It found the typical state- 
ment, 'That stone is grey'; and it evolved the generalization that the actual 
world can be conceived as a collection of primary substances qualified by 
universal qualities. Of course, this was not the only generalization evolved: 
Greek philosophy was subtle and multiform, also it was not inflexibly 
consistent. But this general notion was always influencing thought, ex- 
plicitly or implicitly. 

A theory of knowledge was also needed. Again philosophy started on a 
sound principle, that all knowledge is grounded on perception. Perception 
was then analysed, and found to be the awareness that a universal quality 
is qualifying a particular substance. Thus perception is the catching of a 
universal quality in the act of qualifying a particular substance. It was 
then asked, how the perceiver perceives; and the answer is,t by his organs 
of sensation. Thus the universal qualities which qualify the perceived 
substances are, in respect to the [24 1] perceiver, his private sensations re- 

The Subjectivist Principle 159 

ferred to particular substances other than himself. So far, the tradition of 
philosophy includes, among other elements, a factor of extreme ob- 
jectivism in metaphysics, whereby the subject-predicate form of proposition 
is taken as expressing a fundamental metaphysical truth. Descartes modi- 
fied traditional philosophy in two opposite ways. He increased the meta- 
physical emphasis on the substance-quality forms of thought. The actual 
things 'required nothing but themselves in order to exist/ and were to be 
thought of in terms of their qualities, some of them essential attributes, 
and others accidental modes. He also laid down the principle, that those 
substances which are the subjects enjoying conscious experiences t provide 
the primary data for philosophy, namely, themselves as in the enjoyment 
of such experience. This is the famous subjectivist bias which entered into 
modern philosophy through Descartes. In this doctrine Descartes undoubt- 
edly made the greatest philosophical discovery since the age of Plato and 
Aristotle. For his doctrine directly traversed the notion that the proposi- 
tion, 'This stone is grey/ expresses a primary form of known fact from 
which metaphysics can start its generalizations. If we are to go back to the 
subjective enjoyment of experience, the type of primary starting-point is 
'my perception of this stone as grey.' Primitive men were not metaphysi- 
cians, nor were they interested in the expression of concrete experience. 
Their language merely expressed useful abstractions, such as 'greyness of 
the stone/ But like Columbus who never visited America, Descartes missed 
the full sweep of his own discovery, and he and his successors, Locke and 
Hume, continued to construe the functionings of the subjective enjoyment 
of experience according to the substance-quality categories. Yet if the 
enjoyment of experience be the constitutive subjective fact, these cate- 
gories have lost all claim to any fundamental character in metaphysics. 
Hume — to proceed at once to the consistent exponent of the method- 
looked for a [242] universal quality to function as qualifying the mind, by 
way of explanation of its perceptive enjoyment. Now if we scan 'my per- 
ception of this stone as grey' in order to find a universal, the only available 
candidate is 'greyness/ Accordingly for Hume, 'greyness/ functioning as a 
sensation qualifying the mind, is a fundamental type of fact for meta- 
physical generalization. The result is Hume's simple impressions of sensa- 
tion, which form the starting-point of his philosophy. But this is an entire 
muddle, f for the perceiving mind is not grey, and so grey is now made to 
perform a new role. From the original fact 'my perception of this stone as 
grey/ Hume extracts 'Awareness of sensation of greyness'; and puts it 
forward as the ultimate datum in this element of experience. 

He has discarded the objective actuality of the stone-image in his search 
for a universal quality: this 'objective actuality' is Descartes' 'realitas ob- 
jective! \ Hume's search was undertaken in obedience to a metaphysical 
principle which had lost all claim to validity, if the Cartesian discovery be 
accepted. He is then content with 'sensation of greyness/ which is just as 
much a particular as the original stone-image. He is aware of 'this sensa- 

160 Discussions and Applications 

tion of greyness.' What he has done is to assert arbitrarily the 'subjectivism 
and 'sensationalist' principles as applying to the datum for experience: the 
notion 'this sensation of greyness' has no reference to any other actual 
entity. Hume thus applies to the experiencing subject Descartes' principle, 
that it requires no other actual entity in order to exist. The fact that fi- 
nally Hume criticizes the Cartesian notion of mindt does not alter the 
other fact that his antecedent arguments presuppose that notion. 

It is to be noticed that Hume can only analyse the sensation in terms of 
af universal and of its realization in the prehending mind. For example, 
to take the first examples which in his Treatise he gives of such analysis, we 
find 'red/ 'scarlet/ 'orange/ 'sweet/ 'bitter/ Thus Hume describes 'im- 
pressions of sensation' in the exact terms in which the philosophy of or- 
ganism describes con- [243] ceptual feelings. They are the particular feel- 
ings of universals, and are not feelings of other particular existents ex- 
emplifying universals. Hume admits this identification, and can find no 
distinction except in 'force and vivacity/ He writes: "The first circum- 
stance that strikes my eye, is the great resemblance between our impres- 
sions and ideas in every particular except their degree of force and 

In contrast to Hume, the philosophy of organism keeps 'this stone as 
grey' in the datum for the experience in question. It is, in fact, the 'objec- 
tive datum' of a certain physical feeling, belonging to a derivative type in 
a late phase of a concrescence. But this doctrine fully accepts Descartes' 
discovery that subjective experiencing is the primary metaphysical situa- 
tion which is presented to metaphysics for analysis. This doctrine is the 
'reformed subjectivist principle,' t mentioned earlier in this chapter. Ac- 
cordingly, the notion 'this stone as grey' is a derivative abstraction, neces- 
sary indeed as an element in the description of the fundamental experien- 
tial feeling, but delusive as a metaphysical starting-point. This derivative 
abstraction is called an 'objectification/ 

The justification for this procedure is, first, common sense, and, sec- 
ondly, the avoidance of the difficulties which have dogged the subjectivist 
and sensationalist principles of modern philosophy. Descartes' discovery 
on the side of subjectivism requires balancing by an 'objectivist' principle 
as to the datum for experience. Also, with the advent of Cartesian subjec- 
tivism, the substance-quality category has lost all claim to metaphysical 
primacy; and, with this disposition of substance-quality, we can reject the 
notion of individual substances, each with its private world of qualities 
and sensations. 


In the philosophy of organism knowledge is relegated to the intermedi- 
ate phase of j>rocess. Cognizance belongs to the genus of subjective forms 
which are admitted, or [244] not admitted, to the function of absorbing 
the objective content into the subjectivity of satisfaction. Its 'importance' 

The Subjectivist Principle 161 

is therefore no necessary element in the concrete actual entity. In the case 
of any one such entity, it may merely constitute an instance of what 
Locke terms 'a capacity/ If we are considering the society of successive 
actual occasions in the historic route forming the life of an enduring ob- 
ject, some of the earlier actual occasions may be without knowledge, and 
some of the later may possess knowledge. In such a case, the unknowing 
man has become knowing. There is nothing surprising in this conclusion; 
it happens daily for most of us, when we sleep at night and wake in the 
morning. Every actual entity has the capacity for knowledge, and there is 
graduation in the intensity of various items of knowledge; but, in gen- 
eral, knowledge seems to be negligible apart from a peculiar complexity in 
the constitution of some actual occasion. 

We— as enduring objects with personal order— objectify the occasions of 
our own past with peculiar completeness in our immediate present. We 
find in those occasions, as known from our present standpoint, a surprising 
variation in the range and intensity of our realized knowledge. We sleep; 
we are half-awake; we are aware of our perceptions, but are devoid of 
generalities in thought; we are vividly absorbed within a small region of 
abstract though while oblivious to the world around; we are attending to 
our emotions— some torrent of passion— to them and to nothing else; we 
are morbidly discursive in the width of our attention; and finally we sink 
back into temporary obliviousness, sleeping or stunned. Also we can re- 
member factors experienced in our immediate past, which at the time we 
failed to notice. When we survey the chequered history of our own capac- 
ity for knowledge, does common sense allow us to believe that the opera- 
tions of judgment, operations which require definition in terms of con- 
scious apprehension, are those operations which are foundational in exist- 
ence either as \245] an essential attribute for an actual entity, or as the 
final culmination whereby unity of experience is attained?! 

The general case x of conscious perception is the negative perception, 
namely, 'perceiving this stone as not grey/ The 'grey' then has ingression 
in its full character of a conceptual novelty, illustrating an alternative. In 
the positive case, 'perceiving this stone as grey/ the grey has ingression in 
its character of a possible novelty, but in fact by its conformity empha- 
sizing the dative grey, blindly felt. Consciousness is the feeling of nega- 
tion: in the perception of 'the stone as grey/ such feeling is in barest 
germ; in the perception of 'the stone as not grey/ such feeling is int full 
development. Thus the negative perception is the triumph of conscious- 
ness. It finally rises to the peak of free imagination, in which the con- 
ceptual novelties search through a universe in which they are not datively 

Consciousness is the subjective form involved in feeling the contrast 
between the 'theory' which may be erroneous and the fact which is 'given/ 
Thus consciousness involves the rise into importance of the contrast be- 

1 Cf. Part III, for the full account. 

162 Discussions and Applications 

tween the eternal objects designated by the words 'any' and 'just that/ 
Conscious perception is ? therefore, the most primitive form of judgment. 
The organic philosophy holds that consciousness only arises in a Jate 
derivative phase of complex integrations. If an actual occasion be such 
that phases of this sort are negligible in its concrescence, then in its ex- 
perience there is no knowledge;! owing to the fact that consciousness is a 
subjective form belonging to the later phases, the prehensions which it 
directly irradiates are those of an 'impure' type. Consciousness only il- 
luminates the more primitive types of prehension so far as these prehen- 
sions are still elements in the products of integration. Thus those elements 
of our experience which stand out clearly and distinctly in our conscious- 
ness are not its basic facts; they are the derivative modifications which 
arise in the process. For [246] example, consciousness only dimly illumi- 
nates the prehensions in the mode of causal efficacy, because these pre- 
hensions are primitive elements in our experience. But prehensions in the 
mode of presentational immediacy are among those prehensions which we 
enjoy with the most vivid consciousness. These prehensions are late 
derivatives in the concrescence of an experient subject. The consequences 
of the neglect of this law, that the late derivative elements are more clearly 
illuminated by consciousness than the primitive elements, have been fatal 
to the proper analysis of an experient occasion. In fact, most of the diffi- 
culties of philosophy are produced by it. Experience has been explained in 
a thoroughly topsy-turvy fashion, the wrong end first. In particular, emo- 
tional and purposeful experience have been made to follow upon Hume's 
impressions of sensation. 

To sum up: (i) Consciousness is a subjective form arising in the higher 
phases of concrescence, (ii) Consciousness primarily illuminates the higher 
phase in which it arises, and only illuminates earlier phases derivatively, as 
they remain components in the higher phase, (iii) It follows that the 
order of dawning, clearly and distinctly, in consciousness is not the order 
of metaphysical priority. 


The primitive form of physical experience is emotional— blind emo- 
tion—received as felt elsewhere in another occasion and conformally ap- 
propriated as a subjective passion. In the language appropriate to the 
higher stages of experience, the primitive element is sympathy, that is, 
feeling the feeling in another and feeling conformally with another. We 
are so used to considering the high abstraction, 'the stone as green/ that 
we have difficulty in eliciting into consciousness the notion of 'green' as 
the qualifying character of an emotion. Yet, the aesthetic feelings, whereby 
there is pictorial art, are nothing else than products of the contrasts [247] 
latent in a variety of colours qualifying emotion, contrasts which are made 
possible by their patterned relevance to each other. The separation of the 

The Sub jecti vist Principle 163 

emotional experience from the presentational intuition is a high abstrac- 
tion of thought. Thus the primitive experience is emotional feeling, f felt 
in its relevance to a world beyond. The feeling is blind and the relevance 
is vague. Also feeling, and reference to an exterior world, t pass into ap- 
petition, which is the feeling of determinate relevance to a world about to 
be. In the phraseology of physics, this primitive experience is 'vector 
feeling/ that is to say, feeling from a beyond which is determinate and 
pointing to a beyond which is to be determined. But the feeling is sub- 
jectively rooted in the immediacy of the present occasion: it is what the 
occasion feels for itself, as derived from the past and as merging into the 
future. In this vector transmission of primitive feeling the primitive pro- 
vision of width for contrast is secured by pulses of emotion, which in the 
coordinate division of occasions (cf. Part IV) appear as wave-lengths and 
vibrations. In any particular cosmic epoch, the order of nature has secured 
the necessary differentiation of function, so as to avoid incompatibilities, 
by shepherding the sensa characteristic of that epoch each into association 
with a definite pulse. Thus the transmission of each sensum is associated 
with its own wave-length. In physics, such transmission can be conceived 
as corpuscular or undulatory, according to the special importance of par- 
ticular features in the instance considered. The higher phases of experi- 
ence increase the dimension of width, and elicit contrasts of higher types. 
The clash of uncoordinated emotions in the lower categories isf avoided: 
the aspect of inhibition and of transitory satisfaction is diminished. Ex- 
perience realizes itself as an element in what is everlasting (cf. Part V, Ch. 
II), and as embodying in itself the everlasting component of the universe. 
This gain does not necessarily involve consciousness. Also it involves en- 
hanced subjective emphasis. The occasion [248] has become less of a detail 
and more of a totality, so far as its subjective experience is concerned. The 
feeling of this width, with its enhancement of permanence, takes the form 
of blind zest, which can become self-defeating by excess of subjective em- 
phasis. The inhibitions of zest by lack of adequate width to combine the 
contraries inherent in the environment lead to the destruction of the type 
of order concerned. Every increase of sensitivity requires an evolution 
towards adaptation. It must be remembered, however, that emotion in 
human experience, or even in animal experience, is not bare emotion. It 
is emotion interpreted, integrated, and transformed into higher categories 
of feeling. But even so, the emotional appetitive elements in our conscious 
experience are those which most closely resemble the basic elements of all 
physical experience. 


The distinction between the various stages of concrescence consists in 
the diverse modes of ingression of the eternal objects involved. The im- 
manent decision, whereby there is a supervening of stages in an actual 

164 Discussions and Applications 

entity, is always the determinant of a process of integration whereby com- 
pletion is arrived at— at least, such 'formal' completion as is proper to a 
single actual entity. This determination originates with conceptual pre- 
hensions which enter into integration with the physical prehensions,! 
modifying both the data and the subjective forms. 

The limitation whereby there is a perspective relegation of eternal ob- 
jects to the background is the characteristic of decision. Transcendent 
decision includes God's decision. He is the actual entity in virtue of which 
the entire multiplicity of eternal objects obtains its graded relevance to 
each stage of concrescence. Apart from God, there could be no relevant 
novelty. Whatever arises in actual entities from God's decision, arises first 
conceptually, and is transmuted into the physical world (cf. Part III). In 
'transcendent decision' there is transi- [249] tion from the past to the im- 
mediacy of the present; and in 'immanent decision' there is the process of 
acquisition of subjective form and the integration of feelings. In this 
process the creativity, universal throughout actuality, is characterized by 
the datum from the past; and it meets this dead datum— universalized 
into a character of creativity— by the vivifying novelty of subjective form 
selected from the multiplicity of pure potentiality. In the process, the old 
meets the new, and this meeting constitutes the satisfaction of an im- 
mediate particular individual. 

Eternal objects in any one of their modes of subjective ingrcssion are 
then functioning in the guise of subjective novelty meeting the objective 
datum from the past. This word 'feeling' is a mere technical term; but it 
has been chosen to suggest that functioning through which the con- 
crescent actuality appropriates the datum so as to make it its own. There 
are three successive phases of feelings, namely, a phase of 'conformal'f 
feelings, one of 'conceptual' feelings, and one of 'comparative' feelings, 
including 'propositional' feelings in this last species. In the conformal 
feelings the how of feeling reproduces what is felt. Some conformation is 
necessary as a basis of vector transition, whereby the past is synthesized 
with the present. The one eternal object in its two-way function, as a 
determinant of the datum and as a determinant of the subjective form, is 
thus relational. In this sense the solidarity of the universe is based on the 
relational functioning of eternal objects. The two latter? phases can be 
put together as the 'supplemental' phase. 

An eternal object when it has ingression through its function of ob- 
jectifying the actual world, so as to present the datum for prehension, is 
functioning 'datively.' Hence, to sum up, there are four modes of func- 
tioning whereby an eternal object has ingression into the constitution of 
an actual entity: (i) as dative ingression, (ii) in conformal physical feeling, 
(iii) in conceptual feeling, (iv) in comparative feeling. 

\2S0] But the addition of diverse eternal objects is not of the essence of 
'supplementation': the essence consists in the adjustment of subjective 
importance by functioning of subjective origin. The graduated emotional 

The Subjectivist Principle 165 

intensity of the subject is constituting itself by reference to the physical 
data, datively there and conformally felt. All references to 'attention' 
usually refer to such supplementation in which the addition of diverse 
eternal objects is at a minimum; whereas references to 'emotion' usually 
refer to such supplementation complicated by profuse addition of diverse 
eternal objects. Supplementary feeling is emotional and purposeful, be- 
cause it is what is felt by mere reason of the subjective appropriation of 
the objective data. But it is of the essence of supplementary feeling that it 
does not challenge its initial phase of conformal feeling by any reference to 
incompatibility. The stages of the subjective ingression of eternal objects 
involve essential compatibility. The process exhibits an inevitable con- 
tinuity of functioning. Each stage carries in itself the promise of its suc- 
cessor, and each succeeding stage carries in itself the antecedent out of 
which it arose. For example, t the complexity of the datum carries in itself 
the transition from the conformal feelings to supplementary feelings in 
which contrasts, latent in the datum, achieve real unity between the com- 
ponents. Thus components in the datum, which qua dative, are diverse, 
become united in specific realized contrast. As elements in the datum, the 
components are individually given, with the potentiality for a contrast, 
which in the supplementary stage is either included or excluded. The con- 
formal stage merely transforms the objective content into subjective feel- 
ings. But the supplementary stage adds, or excludes, the realization of the 
contrasts by which the original datum passes into its emotional unity. 

This account enables us to conceive the stage of consciousness as a pro- 
longation of the stage of supplementation. The concrescence is an in- 
dividualization of the whole universe. Every eternal object, whether rele- 
vant [25 J] or irrelevant to the datum, is still patient of its contrasts with 
the datum. The process by which such contrasts are admitted or rejected 
involves the stage of conceptual feeling; and consciousness is evidently 
only a further exhibition of this stage of supplementary feeling. Concep- 
tual feelings do not necessarily involve consciousness. This point is 
elaborated in detail in Part III. 

Again in this explanation, 'contrast' has appeared as the general case; 
while 'identification' is a sub-species arising when one and the same 
eternal object is contrasted in its two modes of functioning. 

Thus the two latter stages of feeling are constituted by the realization of 
specific modes of diversity and identity, the realization also involving an 
adjustment of intensities of relevance. Mere diversity, and mere identity, 
are generic terms. Two components in the constitution of an actual entity 
are specifically diverse and specifically identical by reason of the definite 
potential contrast involved in the diversity of the implicated eternal ob- 
jects, and by reason of the definite self-identity of each eternal object. The 
specific identity arising from the synthesis of diverse modes of functioning 
of one eternal object is the 'individual essence' of that eternal object. But 
the concrescence reaches the goal required by the Category of Objective 

166 Discussions and Applications 

Unity, that in any subject one entity can only be felt once. Nothing can be 
duplicated. The many potentialities for one entity must be synthesizedt 
into one fact. Hence arise the incompatibilities productive of elimination. 

Properly speaking, modes of functioning are compared, thereby evoking 
specific contrasts and specific identifications. The two latter stages of feel- 
ing are the stages of comparison; these stages involve comparisons, and 
comparisons of comparisons; and the admission, or exclusion, of an in- 
definite complexity of potentialities for comparison, in ascending grades. 

The ultimate attainment is 'satisfaction/ This is the final characteriza- 
tion of the unity of feeling of the one [252] actual entity, the 'superject' 
which is familiarly termed the 'subject/ In a sense this satisfaction is two- 
dimensional. It has a dimension of narrowness, and a dimension of width. 
The dimension of narrowness refers to the intensities of individual emo- 
tions arising out of individual components in the datum. In this dimen- 
sion, the higher levels of coordination are irrelevant. The dimension of 
width arises out of the higher levels of coordination, by which the in- 
tensities in the dimension of narrowness become subordinated to a co- 
ordination which depends upon the higher levels of comparison. The 
savouring of the complexity of the universe can enter into satisfaction 
only through the dimension of width. The emotional depths at the low 
levels have their limits: the function of width is to deepen the ocean of 
feeling, and to remove the diminutions of depth produced by the inter- 
ference of diverse emotions uncoordinated at a higher level. In the place 
of the Hegelian hierarchy of categories of thought, the philosophy of 
organism finds a hierarchy of categories of feeling. 


The reformed subjectivist principle adopted by the philosophy of or- 
ganism is merely an alternative statement of the principle of relativity (the 
fourth Category of Explanation). This principle states that it belongs to 
the nature of a 'being that it is a potential for every 'becoming/ Thus all 
things are to be conceived as qualifications of actual occasions. According 
to the ninth Category of Explanation, how an actual entity becomes con- 
stitutes what that actual entity is. This principle states that the being of a 
res vera is constituted by its 'becoming/ The way in which one actual 
entity is qualified by other actual entities is the 'experience' of the actual 
world enjoyed by that actual entity, as subject. The subjectivist principle** 
is that the whole universe consists of elements disclosed in the analysis of 
the experiences of subjects. Process is the becoming of experience. [253] It 
follows that the philosophy of organism entirely accepts the subjectivist 
bias of modern philosophy. It also accepts Hume's doctrine that nothing 
is to be received into the philosophical scheme which is not discoverable 
as an element in subjective experience. This is the ontological principle. 
Thus Hume's demand that causation be describable as an element in ex- 

The Subjectivist Principle 167 

perience is, on these principles, entirely justifiable. The point of the crit- 
icisms of Hume's procedure is that we have direct intuition of inheritance 
and memory: thus the only problem is, so to describe the general character 
of experience that these intuitions may be included. It is here that Hume 
fails. Also those modern empiricists who substitute law' for 'causation' 
fail even worse than Hume. For 'law' no more satisfies Hume's tests than 
does 'causation/ There is no 'impression' of law, or of lawfulness. Even 
allowing memory, according to Humian principles what has happened in 
experience has happened in experience, and that is all that can be said. 
Everything else is bluff, combined with the fraudulent insertion of 'prob- 
ability' into a conclusion which demands 'blank ignorance.' 

The difficulties of all schools of modern philosophy lie in the fact that, 
having accepted the subjectivist principle,** they continue to use philosoph- 
ical categories derived from another point of view. These categories are not 
wrong, but they deal with abstractions unsuitable for metaphysical use. 
It is for this reason that the notions of the 'extensive continuum' and of 
'presentational t immediacy' require such careful discussion from every 
point of view. The notions of the 'green leaf and of the 'round ball' are 
at the base of traditional metaphysics. They have generated two miscon- 
ceptions: one is the concept of vacuous actuality, void of subjective ex- 
perience; and the other is the concept of quality inherent in substance. 
In their proper character, as high abstractions, both of these notions are of 
the utmost pragmatic use. In fact, language has been formed chiefly to 
express such con- \2S4) cepts. It is for this reason that language, in its 
ordinary usages, penetrates but a short distance into the principles of 
metaphysics. Finally, the reformed subjectivist principle must be repeated: 
that apart from the experiences of subjects there is nothing, nothing, 
nothing, bare nothingness. 

It is now evident that the final analogy to philosophies of the Hegelian 
school, noted in the Preface, is not accidental. The universe is at once the 
multiplicity of res verae] and the solidarity of res verae. The solidarity is 
itself the efficiency of the macroscopic res vera, embodying the principle 
of unbounded permanence acquiring novelty through flux. The multiplicity 
is composed of microscopic res verae, each embodying the principle of 
bounded flux acquiring 'everlasting' permanence. On one side, the one 
becomes many; and on the other side, the many become one. But what 
becomes is always a res vera, and the concrescence t of a res vera is the 
development of a subjective aim. This development is nothing else than 
the Hegelian development of an idea. The elaboration of this aspect of 
the philosophy of organism, with the purpose of obtaining an interpre- 
tation of the religious experience of mankind, is undertaken in Part V of 
these lectures. 

Cosmological story, in every part and in every chapter, relates the inter- 
play of the static vision and the dynamic history. But the whole story is 
comprised within the account of the subjective concrescence of res verae. 



[255] The pure mode of presentational immediacy gives no information 
as to the past or the future. It merely presents an illustrated portion of 
the presented duration. It thereby defines a cross-section of the universe: 
hut does not in itself define on which side lies the past, and on which 
side the future. In order to solve such questions we now come to the 
interplay between the two pure modes. This mixed mode of perception is 
here named 'symbolic reference/ The failure to lay due emphasis on 
symbolic reference is one of the reasons for metaphysical difficulties; it has 
reduced the notion of 'meaning' to a mystery. 

The first principle, explanatory of symbolic reference, is that for such 
reference a 'common ground' is required. By this necessity for a 'common 
ground' it is meant that there must be components in experience which 
are directly recognized as identical in each of the pure perceptive modes. 
In the transition to a higher phase of experience, there is a concrescence in 
which prehensions in the two modes are brought into a unity of feeling: 
this concrescent unity arises from a congruity of their subjective forms in 
virtue of the identity relation between the two prehensions, owing to some 
components in common. Thus the symbolic reference belongs to one of 
the later originative phases of experience. These later phases are dis- 
tinguished by their new element of originative freedom. Accordingly, 
while the two pure perceptive modes are incapable of error, symbolic 
reference introduces this possibility. When human experience is in ques- 
tion, 'per- \256] ception' almost always means 'perception in the mixed 
mode of symbolic reference/ Thus, in general, human perception is sub- 
ject to error, because, in respect to those components most clearly in 
consciousness, it is interpretative. In fact, error is the mark of the higher 
organisms, and is the schoolmaster by whose agency there is upward 
evolution. For example, the evolutionary use of intelligence is that it 
enables the individual to profit by error without being slaughtered 
by it. But at present, we are not considering conceptual or intellectual 

One main element of common ground, shared between the two pure 
modes, is the presented locus. This locus enters subordinately into the 
perceptive mode of causal efficacy, vaguely exemplifying its participation 
in the general scheme of extensive interconnection, involved in the real 


Symbolic Reference 169 

potentiality. It is not disclosed by that perceptive mode in any other way; 
at least it is not directly disclosed. The further disclosure must be in- 
direct, since contemporary events are exactly those which are neither 
causing, nor caused by, the percipient actual occasion. Now, although the 
various causal pasts (i.e., 'actual worlds') of the contemporary actual occa- 
sions are not wholly identical with the causal past of the percipient actual 
occasion, yet, so far as important relevance is concerned, these causal pasts 
are practically identical. Thus there is, in the mode of causal efficacy, a 
direct perception of those antecedent actual occasions which are causally 
efficacious both for the percipient and for the relevant events in the pre- 
sented locus. The percipient therefore, under the limitation of its own 
perspective, prehends the causal influences to which the presented locus in 
its important regions is subjected. This amounts to an indirect perception 
of this locus, a perception in which the direct components belong to the 
pure mode of causal efficacy. If we now turn to the perceptive mode of 
presentational immediacy, the regions, perceived by direct and indirect 
knowledge respectively, are inverted in comparison with the other mode. 
The presented locus is directly illus- [257] trated by the sensa; while the 
causal past, the causal future, and the other contemporary events, are only 
indirectly perceived by means of their extensive relations to the presented 
locus. It must be remembered that the presented locus has its fourth 
dimension of temporal thickness 'spatialized' as the specious present of 
the percipient. Thus the presented locus, with the animal body of the 
percipient as the region from which perspectives are focussed, is the re- 
gional origin by reference to which in this perceptive mode the complete 
scheme of extensive regions is rendered determinate. The respective roles 
of the two perceptive modes in experience are aptly exemplified by the 
fact that all scientific observations, such as measurements, determinations 
of relative spatial position, determinations of sense-data such as colours, 
sounds, tastes, smells, temperature feelings, touch feelings, etc., are made 
in the perceptive mode of presentational immediacy: and that great care is 
exerted to keep this mode pure, that is to say, devoid of symbolic reference 
to causal efficacy. In this way accuracy is secured, in the sense that the 
direct observation is purged of all interpretation. On the other hand all 
scientific theory is stated in terms referring exclusively to the scheme of 
relatedness, which, so far as it is observed, involves the percepta in the 
pure mode of causal efficacy. It thus stands out at once, that what we 
want to know about, from the point of view either of curiosity or of tech- 
nology, chiefly resides in those aspects of the world disclosed in causal 
efficacy: but that what we can distinctly register is chiefly to be found 
among the percepta in the mode of presentational immediacy. 

The presented locus is a common ground for the symbolic reference, 
because it is directly and distinctly perceived in presentational immediacy, 
and is indistinctly and indirectly perceived in causal efficacy. In the latter 
mode, the indistinctness is such that the detailed geometrical relationships 

170 Discussions and Applications 

are, for the most part, incurably vague. Particular regions are, in this per- 
ceptive mode, [258] in general not distinguishable. In this respect, causal 
efficacy stands in contrast to presentational immediacy with its direct 
illustration of certain distinct regions. 

But there are exceptions to this geometrical indistinctness of causal 
efficacy. In the first place, the separation of the potential extensive scheme 
into past and future lies with the mode of causal efficacy and not with that 
of presentational immediacy. The mathematical measurements, derivable 
from the latter, are indifferent to this distinction; whereas the physical 
theory, expressed in terms of the former, is wholly concerned with it. In 
the next place, the animal body of the percipient is a region for which 
causal efficacy acquires some accuracy in its distinction of regions—not all 
the distinctness of the other mode, but sufficient to allow of important 
identifications. For example, we see with our eyes, we taste with our 
palates, we touch with our hands, etc.: here the causal efficacy defines 
regions which are identified with themselves as perceived with greater 
distinctness by the other mode. To take one example, the slight eye-strain 
in the act of sight is an instance of regional definition by presentational 
immediacy. But in itself it is no more to be correlated with projected sight 
than is a contemporary stomach-ache, or a throb in the foot. The obvious 
correlation of the eye-strain with sight arises from the perception, in the 
other mode, of the eye as efficacious in sight. This correlation takes place 
in virtue of the identity of the two regions, the region of the eye-strain, and 
the region of eye-efficacy. But the eye-strain is so immeasurably the su- 
perior in its power of regional definition that, as usual, we depend upon 
it for explicit geometrical correlations with other parts of the body. In 
this way, the animal body is the great central ground underlying all sym- 
bolic reference. In respect to bodily perceptions the two modes achieve the 
maximum of symbolic reference, and pool their feelings referent to identi- 
cal regions. Every statement about the geometrical relationships of physi- 
cal bodies in the world is ultimately [259] referable to certain definite 
human bodies as origins of reference. A traveller, who has lost his way, 
should not ask, Where am I? What he really wants to know is, Where are 
the other places? He has got his own body, but he has lost them. 


The second 'ground' for symbolic reference is the connection between 
the two modes effected by the identity of an eternal object ingredient in 
both of them. It will be remembered that the former 'ground' was the 
identity of the extensive region throughout such stages of direct percep- 
tion and synthesis, when there was a diversity of eternal objects, for ex- 
ample, eye-region, visual sensa, eye-strain. But now we pass to a diversity of 
regions combined with an identity of the eternal object, for example, visual 
sensa given by efficacy of eye-region, and the region of the stone perceived 

Symbolic Reference 171 

in the mode of presentational immediacy under the illustration of the 
same visual sensa.t In this connection the 'make-believe' character of mod- 
ern empiricism is well shown by putting into juxtaposition f two widely 
separated passages x from Hume's Treatise: "Impressions may be divided 
into two kinds, those of sensation, and those of reflection. The first kind 
arises in the soul originally, from unknown causes. 7 ' And "If it be per- 
ceived by the eyes, it must be a colour; . . ." 

The earlier passage is Hume's make-believe, when he is thinking of his 
philosophical principles. He then refers the visual sensations 'in the soul' 
to 'unknown causes.' But in the second passage, the heat of argument 
elicits his real conviction— everybody's real conviction— that visual sensa- 
tions arise 'by the eyes.' The causes are not a bit 'unknown,' and among 
them there is usually to be found the efficacy of the eyes. If Hume had 
stopped to investigate the alternative causes for the occurrence of visual 
sensations— for example, eye-sight, or excessive consumption of alcohol- 
he might have hesitated in his [260] profession of ignorance. If the causes 
be indeed unknown, it is absurd to bother about eye-sight and intoxica- 
tion. The reason for the existence of oculists and prohibitionists is that 
various causes are known. 

We can now complete our account of presentational immediacy. In this 
perceptive mode the sensa are 'given' for the percipient, but this donation 
is not to be ascribed to the spatial object which is thereby presented, the 
stone, for example. Now it is a primary doctrine that what is 'given' is 
given by reason of objectifications of actual entities from the settled past. 
We therefore seek for the actual occasions to whose objectifications this 
donation is to be ascribed. In this procedure we are only agreeing with the 
spirit of Descartes' fifty-second principle (Part I): "For this reason, when 
we perceive any attribute, we therefore conclude that some existing thing 
or substance to which it may be attributed, is necessarily present." Com- 
mon sense, physical theory, and physiological theory, combine to point out 
a historic route of inheritance, from actual occasion to succeeding actual 
occasion, first physically in the external environment, then physiologi- 
cally—through the eyes in the case of visual data— up the nerves, into the 
brain. The donation— taking sight as an example— is not confined to defi- 
nite sensa, such as shades of colour: it also includes geometrical relation- 
ships to the general environment. In this chain of inheritances, the eye is 
picked out to rise into perceptive prominence, because another historic 
route of physiological inheritance starts from it, whereby a later occa- 
sion (almost identical with the earlier) is illustrated by the sensum 'eye- 
strain' in the mode of presentational immediacy; but this eye-strain is an- 
other allied story. In the visual datum for the percipient there are first these 
components of colour-sensa combined with geometrical relationships to 
the external world of the settled past: secondly, there are also in the datum 
the general geometrical relationships forming the completion of this po- 
tential scheme into the contemporary world, and into [261] the future. 

1 Book I, Part I, Sects. II and VI (italics mine).* 

1 72 Discussions and Applications 

The responsive phase absorbs these data as material for a subjective unity 
of feeling: the supplemental stage heightens the relevance of the colour- 
sensa, and supplements the geometrical relationships of the past by picking 
out the contemporary region of the stone to be the contemporary repre- 
sentative of the efficacious historic routes. There then results in the mode 
of presentational immediacy, the perception of the region illustrated by the 
sensum termed 'grey/ The term 'stone' is primarily applied to a certain 
historic route in the past, which is an efficacious element in this train of 
circumstance. It is only properly applied to the contemporary region il- 
lustrated by 'grey' on the assumption that this contemporary region is the 
prolongation, of that historic route, into the presented locus. This assump- 
tion may, or may not, be true. Further, the illustration of the contemporary 
region of *grey ? may be due to quite other efficacious historic routes— for 
example, to lighting effects arranged by theatrical producers— and in such 
a case, the term 'stone' may suggest an even more violent error than in the 
former example. What is directly perceived, certainly and without shadow 
of doubt, is a grey region of the presented locus. Any further interpretation, 
instinctive or by intellectual judgment, must be put down to symbolic 

This account makes it plain that the perceptive mode of presentational 
immediacy arises in the later, originative, integrative phases of the process 
of concrescence. The perceptive mode of causal efficacy is to be traced to 
the constitution of the datum by reason of which there is a concrete per- 
cipient entity. Thus we must assign the mode of causal efficacy to the 
fundamental constitution of an occasion so that in germ this mode be- 
longs even to organisms of the lowest grade; while the mode of presenta- 
tional immediacy requires the more sophistical activity of the later stages 
of process, so as to belong only to organisms of a relatively high grade. So 
far as we can judge, such high-grade organisms are relatively few, in [262] 
comparison with the whole number of organisms in our immediate en- 
vironment. Presentational immediacy is an outgrowth from the complex 
datum implanted by causal efficacy. But, by the originative power of the 
supplemental phase, what was vague, ill defined, and hardly relevant in 
causal efficacy, becomes distinct, well defined, and importantly relevant in 
presentational immediacy. In the responsive phase, the grey colour, t and 
the geometrical relations between the efficacious, bodily routes and the 
contemporary occasions, were subjective sensationst associated with barely 
relevant geometrical relations: they represented the vivid sensational qual- 
ities in the enjoyment of which the percipient subject barely distinguished 
vague indirect relationships to the external world. The supplemental phase 
lifts the presented duration into vivid distinctness, so that the vague effi- 
cacy of the indistinct external world in the immediate past is precipitated 
upon the representative regions in the contemporary present. In the usual 
language, the sensations are projected. This phraseology is unfortunate; 
for there never were sensations apart from these geometrical relations. 

Symbolic Reference 173 

Presentational immediacy is the enhancement of the importance of rela- 
tionships which were already in the datum, vaguely and with slight rele- 
vance. This fact, that presentational immediacy' deals with the same 
datum as does 'causal efficacy/ gives the ultimate reason why there is a 
common 'ground' for 'symbolic reference/ The two modes express the 
same datum under different proportions of relevance. The two genetic- 
processes involving presentational immediacy must be carefully distin- 
guished. There is first the complex genetic process in which presentational 
immediacy originates. This process extends downwards even to occasions 
which belong to the historic routes of certain types of inorganic enduring 
objects, namely, to those enduring objects whose aggregates form the 
subject-matter of the science of Newtonian dynamics. t Secondly, prehen- 
sions in the mode of presentational immediacy are involved as components 
in [263] integration with other prehensions which are usually, though not 
always, f in other modes. These integrations often involve various types of 
'symbolic reference/ This symbolic reference is the interpretativet element 
in human experience. Language almost exclusively refers to presentational 
immediacy as interpreted by symbolic reference. For example, we say that 
'we see the stone 7 where stone is an interpretation of stone-image: also 
we say that 'we see the stone-image with our eyes'; this is an interpreta- 
tion arising from the complex integration of (i) the causal efficacy of the 
antecedent eye in the vision, (ii) the presentational immediacy of the 
stone-image, (iii) the presentational immediacy of the eye-strain. When 
we say that 'we see the stone with our eyes/ the interpretations of these 
two examples are combined. 


The discussion of the problem constituted by the connection between 
causation and perception t has been conducted by the various schools of 
thought derived from Hume and Kant under the misapprehension gen- 
erated by an inversion of the true constitution of experience. The inversion 
was explicit in the writings of Hume and of Kant: for both of them presen- 
tational immediacy was the primary fact of perception, and any apprehen- 
sion of causation was, somehow or other, to be .elicited from this primary 
fact. This view of the relation between causation and perception, as items 
in experience, was not original to these great philosophers. It is to be found 
presupposed in Locke and Descartes; and they derived it from mediaeval 
predecessors. But the modern critical movement in philosophy arose when 
Hume and Kant emphasized the fundamental, inescapable, importance 
which this doctrine possesses for any philosophy admitting its truth. The 
philosophy of organism does not admit its truth, and thus rejects the 
touchstone which is the neolithic weapon of 'criticaF philosophy. It must 
be remembered that clearness in consciousness is no evidence \264] for 
primitiveness in the genetic process: the opposite doctrine is more nearly 

174 Discussions and Applications 

Owing to its long dominance, it has been usual to assume as an obvious 
fact the primacy of presentational immediacy. We open our eyes and our 
other sense-organs; we then survey the contemporary world decorated with 
sights, and sounds, and tastes; and then, by the sole aid of this information 
about the contemporary world, thus decorated, we draw what conclusions 
we can as to the actual world. No philosopher really holds that this is the 
sole source of information: Hume and his followers appeal vaguely to 
'memory' and to 'practice/ in order to supplement their direct information; 
and Kant wrote other Critiques^ in order to supplement his Critique of 
Pure Reason. But the general procedure of modern philosophical 'criticism' 
is to tie down opponents strictly to the front door of presentational im- 
mediacy as the sole source of information, while one's own philosophy 
makes its escape by a back door veiled under the ordinary usages of 

If this 'Humian' doctrine be true, certain conclusions as to 'behaviour't 
ought to follow— conclusions which, in the most striking way, are not 
verified. It is almost indecent to draw the attention of philosophers to the 
minor transactions of daily life, away from the classic sources of philo- 
sophic knowledge; but, after all, it is the empiricists who began this appeal 
to Caesar. 

According to Hume, our behaviour presupposing causation is due to the 
repetition of associated presentational experiences. Thus the vivid present- 
ment of the antecedent percepts should vividly generate the behaviour, 
in action or thought, towards the associated consequent. The clear, dis- 
tinct, overwhelming perception of the one is the overwhelming reason 
for the subjective transition to the other. For behaviour, interpretable as 
implying causation, is on this theory the subjective response to presenta- 
tional immediacy. According to Hume this subjective response is the be- 
ginning and the end of all that [26S] there is to be said about causation. 
In Hume's theory the response is response to presentational immediacy, 
and to nothing else. Also the situation elicited in response is nothing but 
an immediate presentation, or the memory of one. Let us apply this ex- 
planation to reflex action: In the dark, the electric light is suddenly turned 
on and the man's eyes blink. There is a simple physiological explanation 
of this trifling incident. 

But this physiological explanation is couched wholly in terms of causal 
efficacy: it is the conjectural record of the travel of a spasm of excitement 
along nerves to some nodal centre, and of the return spasm of contraction 
back to the eyelids. The correct technical phraseology would not alter the 
fact that the explanation does not involve any appeal to presentational 
immediacy either for actual occasions resident in the nerves, or for the 
man. At the most there is a tacit supposition as to what a physiologist, 
who in fact was not there, might have seen if he had been there, and if 
he could have vivisected the man without affecting these occurrences, and 
if he could have observed with a microscope which also in fact was absent. 

Symbolic Reference 175 

Thus the physiological explanation remains, from the point of view of 
Hume's philosophy, a tissue of irrelevancies. It presupposes a side of the 
universe about which, on Hume's theory, we must remain in blank ig- 

Let us now dismiss physiology and turn to the private experience of the 
blinking man. The sequence of percepts, in the mode of presentational 
immediacy, ist flash of light, feeling of eye-closure, instant of darkness. 
The three are practically simultaneous; though the flash maintains its 
priority over the other two, and these two latter percepts are indistinguish- 
able as to priority. According to the philosophy of organism, the man also 
experiences another percept in the mode of causal efficacy. He feels that 
the experiences of the eye in the matter of the flash are causal of the blink. 
The man himself will have no doubt of it. In fact, it is the feeling [266] of 
causality which enables the man to distinguish the priority of the flash; 
and the inversion of the argument, whereby the temporal sequence 'flash 
to blink' is made the premise for the 'causality' belief, has its origin in 
pure theory. The man will explain his experience by saying, "The flash 
made me blink'; and if his statement be doubted, he will reply, 'I know 
it, because I felt it.' 

The philosophy of organism accepts the man's statement, that the flash 
made him blink. But Hume intervenes with another explanation. He first 
points out that in the mode of presentational immediacy there is no per- 
cept of the flash making the man blink. In this mode there are merely 
the two percepts— the flash and the blink— combining the two latter of 
the three percepts under the one term 'blink.' Hume refuses to admit the 
man's protestation, that the compulsion to blink is just what he did feel. 
The refusal is based on the dogma t that all percepts are in the mode of 
presentational immediacy— a dogma not to be upset by a mere appeal to 
direct experience. Besides,! Hume has another interpretation of the man's 
experience: what the man really felt was his habit of blinking after flashes. 
The word 'association' explains it all, according to Hume. But how can a 
'habit' be felt, when a 'cause' cannot be felt? Is there any presentational 
immediacy in the feeling of a 'habit'? Hume by a sleight of hand confuses 
a 'habit of feeling blinks after flashes' with a 'feeling of the habit of feel- 
ing blinks after flashes/ 

We have here a perfect example of the practice of applying the test of 
presentational immediacy to procure the critical rejection of some doc- 
trines, and of allowing other doctrines to slip out by a back door, so as 
to evade the test. The notion of causation arose because mankind lives 
amid experiences in the mode of causal efficacy. 


We will keep to the appeal to ordinary experience, and \267] consider 
another situation, which Hume's philosophy is ill equipped to explain. 

176 Discussions and Applications 

The 'causal feeling' according to that doctrine arises from the long asso- 
ciation of well-marked presentations of sensa, one precedent to the other. 
It would seem therefore that inhibitions of sensa, given in presentational 
immediacy, should be accompanied by a corresponding absence of 'causal 
feeling'; for the explanation of how there is 'causal feeling' presupposes 
the well-marked familiar sensa, in presentational immediacy. Unfortu- 
nately the contrary is the case. An inhibition of familiar sensa is very apt 
to leave us a prey to vague terrors respecting a circumambient world of 
causal operations. In the dark there are vague presences, doubtfully feared: 
in the silence, the irresistible causal efficacy of nature presses itself upon 
us; in the vagueness of the low hum of insects in an August woodland, the 
inflow into ourselves of feelings from enveloping nature overwhelms us; 
in the dim consciousness of half-sleep, the presentations of sense fade 
away, and we are left with the vague feeling of influences from vague 
things around us. It is quite untrue that the feelings of various types of 
influences are dependent upon the familiarity of well-marked sensa in 
immediate presentment. Every way of omitting the sensa still leaves us a 
prey to vague feelings of influence. Such feelings, divorced from immediate 
sensa, are pleasant, or unpleasant, according to mood; but they are always 
vague as to spatial and temporal definition, though their explicit domi- 
nance in experience may be heightened in the absence of sensa. 

Further, our experiences! of our various bodily parts are primarily per- 
ceptions of them as reasons for 'projected' sensa : the hand] is the reason 
for the projected touch-sensum, the eye is the reason for the projected 
sight-sensum. Our bodily experience is primarily an experience of the de- 
pendence of presentational immediacy upon causal efficacy. Hume's doc- 
trine inverts this relationship by making causal efficacy, as an experience, 
dependent upon presentational immediacy. This doc- [268] trine, whatever 
be its merits, is not based upon any appeal to experience. 

Bodily experiences, in the mode of causal efficacy, are distinguished by 
their comparative accuracy of spatial definition. The causal influences from 
the body have lost the extreme vagueness of those which inflow from the 
external world. But, even for the body, causal efficacy is dogged with 
vagueness compared to presentational immediacy. These conclusions are 
confirmed if we descend* the scale of organic being. It does not seem 
to be the sense of causal awareness that the lower living things lack, so 
much as variety of sense-presentation, and then vivid distinctness of presen- 
tational immediacy. But animals, and even vegetables, in low forms of 
organism exhibit modes of behaviour directed towards self-preservation. 
There is every indication of a vague feeling of causal relationship with 
the external world, of some intensity, vaguely defined as to quality, and 
with some vague definition as to locality. A jellyfish advances and with- 
draws, and in so doing exhibits some perception of causal relationship with 
the world beyond itself; a plant grows downwards to the damp earth, and 
upwards towards the light. There is thus some direct reason for attributing 

Symbolic Reference 177 

dim, slow feelings of causal nexus, although we have no reason for any 
ascription of the definite percepts in the mode of presentational im- 

But the philosophy of organism attributes 'feeling' throughout the ac- 
tual world. It bases this doctrine upon the directly observed fact that 
'feeling' survives as a known element constitutive of the 'formal' existence 
of such actual entities as we can best observe. Also when we observe the 
causal nexus, devoid of interplay with sense-presentation, the influx of 
feeling with vague qualitative and 'vector' definition t is what we find. The 
dominance of the scalar physical quantity, inertia, in the Newtonian 
physics obscured the recognition of the truth that all fundamental phys- 
ical quantities are vector and not scalar. 

[269] When we pass to inorganic actual occasions, we have lost the two 
higher originative phases in the 'process,' namely, the 'supplemental' phase, 
and the 'mental' phase. They are lost in the sense that, so far as our ob- 
servations go, they are negligible. The influx of objectifications of the 
actualities of the world as organized vehicles of feeling is responded to by 
a mere subjective appropriation of such elements of feeling in their re- 
ceived relevance. The inorganic occasions are merely what the causal past 
allows them to be. 

As we pass to the inorganic world, causation never for a moment seems 
to lose its grip. What is lost is originativeness, and any evidence of im- 
mediate absorption in the present. So far as we can see, inorganic entities 
are vehicles for receiving, for storing in a napkin, and for restoring with- 
out loss or gain. 

In the actual world we discern four grades of actual occasions, grades 
which are not to be sharply distinguished from each other. First, and 
lowest, there are the actual occasions in so-called 'empty space'; secondly, 
there are the actual occasions which are moments in the life-histories of 
enduring non-living objects, such as electrons or other primitive organ- 
isms; thirdly, there are the actual occasions which are moments in the 
life-histories of enduring living objects; fourthly, there are the actual oc- 
casions which are moments in the life-histories of enduring objects with 
conscious knowledge. 

We may imaginatively conjecture that the first grade is to be identified 
with actual occasions for which 'presented durations' are negligible ele- 
ments among their data, negligible by reason of negligible presentational 
immediacy. Thus no intelligible definition of rest and motion is possible 
for historic routes including them, because they correspond to no inherent 
spatializationf of the actual world. 

The second grade is to be identified with actual occasions for which 
'presented durations' are important elements in their data, but with a limi- 
tation only to be [270] observed in the lower moments of human experi- 
ence. In such occasions the data of felt sensa, derived "from the more 
primitive data of causal efficacy, are projected onto the contemporary 

178 Discussions and Applications 

'presented locus' without any clear illustration of special regions in that 
locus. The past has been lifted into the present, but the vague differentia- 
tions in the past have not been transformed into any precise differentia- 
tions within the present. The enhancement of precision has not arrived. 

The third grade is to be identified with occasions in which presentational 
immediacy has assumed some enhanced precision, so that 'symbolic trans- 
ference' has lifted into importance precisely discriminated regions in the 
'presented duration/ The delicate activities of self-preservation are now 
becoming possible by the transference of the vague message of the past 
onto the more precisely discriminated regions of the presented duration. 
Symbolic transference is dependent upon the flashes of conceptual orig- 
inality constituting life. 

The fourth grade is to be identified with the canalized importance of 
free conceptual functionings, whereby blind experience is analysed by 
comparison with the imaginative realization of mere potentiality. In this 
way, experience receives a reorganization in the relative importance of its 
components by the joint operation of imaginative enjoyment and of judg- 
ment. The growth of reason is the increasing importance of critical judg- 
ment in the discipline of imaginative enjoyment. 


One reason for the philosophical difficulties over causation is that Hume, 
and subsequently Kant, conceived the causal nexus as, in its primary 
character, derived from the presupposed sequence of immediate presenta- 
tions. But if we interrogate experience, the exact converse is the case; the 
perceptive mode of immediate presentation affords information about the 
percepta in the more aboriginal mode of causal efficacy. 

[271] Thus symbolic reference, though in complex human experience 
it works both ways, is chiefly to be thought of as the elucidation of per- 
cepta in the mode of causal efficacy by the fluctuating intervention of 
percepta in the mode of presentational immediacy. 

The former mode produces percepta which are vague, not to be con- 
trolled, heavy with emotion: it produces the sense of derivation from an 
immediate past, and of passage to an immediate future; a sense of emo- 
tional feeling, belonging to oneself in the past, passing into oneself in 
the present, and passing from oneself in the present towards oneself in the 
future; a sense of influx of influence from other vaguer presences in the 
past, localized and yet evading local definition, such influence modifying, 
enhancing, inhibiting, diverting, the stream of feeling which we are re- 
ceiving, unifying, enjoying, and transmitting. This is our general sense 
of existence, as one item among others, in an efficacious actual world. 

By diversion of attention we can inhibit its entry into consciousness; 
but, whether mentally analysed or no, it remains the given uncontrolled 
basis upon which our character weaves itself. Our bodies are largely con- 

Symbolic Reference 179 

trivances whereby some central actual occasion may inherit these basic 
experiences of its antecedent parts. Thus organic bodies have their parts 
coordinated by a peculiar vividness in their mutual inheritance. In a sense, 
the difference between a living organism and the inorganic environment 
is only a question of degree; but it is a difference of degree which makes 
all the difference— in effect, it is a difference of quality. 

The percepta in the mode of presentational immediacy have the con- 
verse characteristics. In comparison, they are distinct, definite, controllable, 
apt for immediate enjoyment, and with the minimum of reference to past, 
or to future. We are subject to our percepta in the mode of efficacy, we 
adjust our percepta in the mode of immediacy. But, in fact, our process 
of self-construction for the achievement of unified experience produces! 
a new [272] product, in which percepta in one mode, and percepta in the 
other mode, are synthesized into one subjective feeling. For example, we 
are perceiving before our eyes a grey stone. 

We shall find that generally— though not always— the adjectival words 
express information derived from the mode of immediacy, while the sub- 
stantives convey our dim percepts in the mode of efficacy. For example, 
'grey' refers to the grey shape immediately before our eyes: this percept 
is definite, limited, controllable, pleasant or unpleasant, and with no ref- 
erence to past or to future. It is this sort of percept which has led to Des- 
cartes' definition of substances as 'requiring nothing but themselves in 
order to exist/ and to his notion of 'extension' as the principal f attribute 
of a genus of substances. It has also led to Hume's notion of 'impressions 
of sensation' t arising from unknown sources, and in complete indepen- 
dence so far as any discerniblef nexus is concerned. But the other element 
in the compound percept has a widely different character. The word 
'stone' is selected, no doubt, because its dictionary meaning will afford 
some help in understanding the particular percepta meant. But the word 
is meant to refer to particular feelings of efficacy in the immediate past, 
combined with anticipations for the immediate future; this feeling is 
vaguely localized, and conjecturallyt identified with the very definite 
localization of the 'grey' perceptum. 

Thus, so far as concerns conscious judgment, the symbolic reference is 
the acceptance of the evidence of percepta, in the mode of immediacy, 
as evidence for the localization and discrimination of vague percepta in 
the mode of efficacy. So far as bodily feelings are concerned, there is some 
direct check on this procedure; but, beyond the body, the appeal is to the 
pragmatic consequences, involving some future state of bodily feelings 
which can be checked up. 

But throughout this discussion of perception there has been excessive 
emphasis on the mental phase in the [273} experiential process. This is 
inevitable because we can only discuss experiences which have entered into 
conscious analysis. But perception is a feeling which has its seat in the two 
earlier phases of the experiential! process, namely, the 'responsive' phase, 

1 80 Discussions and Appli ations 

and the 'supplemental' phase. Perception, in these phases, is the appropri- 
ation of the datum by the subject so as to transform the datum into a 
unity of subjective feeling. The mode of efficacy belongs to the responsive 
phase, in which the objectifications are felt according to their relevance 
in the datum: the mode of immediacy belongs to the supplemental phase 
in which the faint indirect relevance, in the datum, of relationships to re- 
gions of the presented locus ist lifted into distinct, prominent, relevance. 
The question as to which regions have their relatedness to other con- 
stituents of the datum— such as 'grey/ for instance— thus accentuated, 
depends upon the coordination of the bodily organs through which the 
routes of inheritance pass. In a fortunately construed** animal body, this 
selection is determined chiefly by the inheritance received by the super- 
ficial organst=the skin, the eyes, etc.— from the external environment, 
and preserves the relevance of the vector character of that external 
inheritance. When this is the case, the perceptive mode of immediacy 
has definite relevance to the future efficacy of the external environment, 
and then indirectly illustrates the inheritance which the presented locus 
receives from the immediate past. 

But this illustration does not gain its first importance from any rational 
analysis. The two modes are unified by a blind symbolic reference by which 
supplemental feelings derived from the intensive, but vague, mode of 
efficacy are precipitated upon the distinct regions illustrated in the mode 
of immediacy. The integration of the two modes in supplemental feeling 
makes what would have been vague to be distinct, and what would have 
been shallow to be intense. This is the perception of the grey stone, in the 
mixed mode of symbolic reference. 

[274] Such perception can be erroneous, in the sense that the feeling 
associates regions in the presented locus with inheritances from the past, 
which in fact have not been thus transmitted into the present regions. 
In the mixed mode, the perceptive determination is purely due to the 
bodily organs, and thus there is a gap in the perceptive logic— so to speak. 
This gap is not due to any conceptual freedom on the part of the ultimate 
subject. It is not a mistake due to consciousness. It is due to the fact that 
the body, as an instrument for synthesizing and enhancing feelings, is 
faulty, in the sense that it produces feelings which have but slight reference 
to the real state of the presented duration. 


Symbolic reference between the two perceptive modes affords the main 
example of the principles which govern all symbolism. The requisites for 
symbolism are that there be two species of percepta; and that a perceptum 
of one species has some 'ground' in common with a perceptum of another 
species, so that a correlation between the pair of percepta is established. 

Symbolic Reference 181 

The feelings, and emotions, and genera characteristics associated with the 
members of one species are in some ways markedly diverse from those as- 
sociated with the other species. Then there is 'symbolic reference' between 
the two species when the perception of a member of one species evokes 
its correlate in the other species, and precipitates upon this correlate the 
fusion of feelings, emotions, and derivate actions, which belong to either 
of the pair of correlates, and which are also enhanced by this correlation. 
The species from which the symbolic reference starts is called the 'species 
of symbols/ and the species withf which it ends is called the 'species of 
meanings/ In this way there can be symbolic reference between two species 
in the same perceptive mode: but the chief example of symbolism, upon 
which is based a great portion of the lives [275] of all high-grade animals, 
is that between the two perceptive modes. 

Symbolism can be justified, or unjustified. The test of justification must 
always be pragmatic. In so far ast symbolism has led to a route of inheri- 
tance, along the percipient occasions forming the percipient 'person/ 
which constitutes a fortunate evolution, the symbolism is justified; and, 
in so far as the symbolism has led to an unfortunate evolution, it is un- 
justified. In a slightly narrower sense the symbolism can be right or wrong; 
and Tightness or wrongness is also tested pragmatically. Along the 'historic 
route' there is the inheritance of feelings derived from symbolic reference: 
now, if feelings respecting some definite element in experience be clue 
to two sources, one source being this inheritance, and the other source 
being direct perception in one of the pure modes, then, if the feelings 
from the two sources enhance each other by synthesis, the symbolic ref- 
erence is right; but, if they are at variance so as to depress each other, the 
symbolic reference is wrong. The Tightness, or wrongness, of symbolism is 
an instance of the symbolism being fortunate or unfortunate; but mere 
'rectitude/ in the sense defined above, does' not cover all that can be in- 
cluded in the more general concept of 'fortune/ So much of human ex- 
perience is bound up with symbolic reference, that it is hardly an exag- 
geration to say that the very meaning of truth is pragmatic. But though 
this statement is hardly an exaggeration, still it is an exaggeration, for the 
pragmatic test can never work, unless on some occasion— in the future, 
or in the present— there is a definite determination of what is true on that 
occasion. Otherwise the poor pragmatist remains an intellectual Hamlet, 
perpetually adjourning decision of judgment to some later date. According 
to the doctrines here stated, the day of judgment arrives when the 'mean- 
ing' is sufficiently distinct and relevant, as a perceptum in its proper pure 
mode, to afford comparison with the precipitate of feeling derived 
[276] from symbolic reference. There is no inherent distinction between 
the sort of percepta which are symbols f and the sort of percepta which 
are meanings. When two species are correlated by a 'ground' of relatedness, 
it depends upon the experiential process, constituting the percipient! 

182 Discussions and Applications 

subject, as to which species is the group of symbols, and which is the group 
of meanings. Also it equally depends upon the percipient as to whether 
there is any symbolic reference at all. 

Language is the example of symbolism which most naturally presents 
itself for consideration of the uses of symbolism. Its somewhat artificial 
character makes the various constitutive elements in symbolism to be the 
more evident. For the sake of simplicity, only spoken language will be con- 
sidered here. 

A single word is not one definite sound. Every instance of its utterance 
differs in some respect from every other instance: the pitch of the voice, 
the intonation, the accent, the quality of sound, the rhythmic relations 
of the component sounds, the intensity of sound, all vary. Thus a word is 
a species of sounds, with specific identity and individual differences. When 
we recognize the species, we have heard the word. But what we have heard 
is merely the sound— euphonious or harsh, concordant with or discordant 
with other accompanying sounds. The word is heard in the pure perceptive 
mode of immediacy, and primarily elicits merely the contrasts and iden- 
tities with other percepta in that mode. So far there is no symbolic 

If the meaning of the word be an event, then either that event is directly 
known, as a remembered perceptum in an earlier occasion of the percip- 
ient's life, or that event is only vaguely known by its dated spatio-temporal 
nexus with events which are directly known. Anyhow there is a chain of 
symbolic references (inherited along the historic route of the percipient's 
life, and reinforced by the production of novel and symbolic references 
at various occasions along that route) whereby in the datum [277] for the 
percipient occasion there is a faintly relevant nexus between the word in 
that occasion of utterance and the event. The sound of the word,! in 
presentational immediacy, by symbolic references elicits this nexus into 
important relevance, and thence precipitates feelings, and thoughts, upon 
the enhanced objectification of the event. Such enhanced relevance of the 
event may be unfortunate, or even unjustified; but it is the function of 
words to produce it. The discussion of mentality is reserved for Part III: 
it is a mistake to think of words as primarily the vehicle of thoughts. 

Language also illustrates the doctrine that, in regard to a couple of prop- 
erly correlated species of things, it depends upon the constitution of the 
percipient subject to assign which species is acting as 'symbol' and which 
as 'meaning.' The word 'forest' may suggest! memories of forests; but 
equally the sight of a forest, or memories of forests, may suggest the word 
'forest.' Sometimes we are bothered because the immediate experience has 
not elicited the word we want. In such a case the word with the right sort 
of correlation with the experience has failed to become importantly rele- 
vant in the constitution of our experience. 

But we do not usually think of the things as symbolizing the words cor- 
related to them. This failure to invert our ideas arises from the most useful 

Symbolic Reference 183 

aspect of symbolism. In general the symbols are more handy elements in 
our experience than are the meanings. We can say the word 'forest' when- 
ever we like; but only under certain conditions can we directly experience 
an existent forest. To procure such an experience usually involves a prob- 
lem of transportation only possible on our holidays. Also it is not so easy 
even to remember forest scenes with any vividness; and we usually find that 
the immediate experience of the word 'forest' helps to elicit such recollec- 
tions. In such ways language is handy as an instrument of communication 
along the successive occasions of the historic route forming the life of one 
individual. By an [278] extension of these same principles of behaviour, it 
communicates from the occasions of one individual to the succeeding oc- 
casions of another individual. The same means which are handy for pro- 
curing the immediate presentation of a word to oneself are equally effec- 
tive for presenting it to another person. Thus we may have a two-way 
system of symbolic reference involving two persons, A and B. The forest, 
recollected by A, symbolizes the word 'forest' for A; then A, for his own 
sake and for B's sake, pronounces the word 'forest'*; then by the efficacy 
of the environment and of B'$ bodily parts, and by the supplemental en- 
hancement due to B's experiential process, the word 'forest' is perceived 
by B in the mode of immediacy; and, finally by symbolic reference, B 
recollects vaguely various forest scenes. In this use of language for com- 
munication between two persons, there is in principle nothing which differs 
from its use by one person for communication along the route of his own 
actual occasions. 

This discussion shows that one essential purpose of symbols arises from 
their handiness. For this reason the Egyptian papyrus made ink-written 
language a more useful symbolism than the Babylonian language im- 
pressed on brick. It is easier to smell incense than to produce certain 
religious emotions; so, if the two can be correlated, incense is a suitable 
symbol for such emotions. Indeed, for many purposes, certain aesthetic 
experiences which are easy to produce make better symbols than do words, 
written or spoken. Quarrels over symbolism constitute one of the many 
causes of religious discord. One difficulty in symbolism is that the unhandy 
meanings are often vague. For instance, this is the case with the percepta 
in the mode of efficacy which are symbolized by percepta in the mode of 
immediacy: also, as another instance, the incense is definite, but the re- 
ligious emotions are apt to be indefinite. The result is that the meanings 
are often shifting and indeterminate. This happens even in the case of 
words: other people misun- [279] derstand their import. Also, in the case 
of incense the exact religious emotions finally reached are very uncertain: 
perhaps we would prefer that some of them were never elicited. 

Symbolism is essential for the higher grades of life; and the errors of 
symbolism can never be wholly avoided. 



[280] A living occasion is characterized by a flash of novelty among the 
appetitions of its mental pole. Such 'appetitions/ i.e., 'conceptual prehen- 
sions/ can be 'pure' or 'impure/ An 'impure' prehension arises from the 
integration of a 'pure 7 conceptual prehension with a physical prehension 
originating in the physical pole. The datum of a pure conceptual prehen- 
sion is an eternal object; the datum of an impure prehension is a proposi- 
tion, otherwise termed a 'theory/ 

The integration of a conceptual and physical prehension need not issue 
in an impure prehension: the eternal object as a mere potentiality, un- 
determined as to its physical realization, may lose its indetermination, i.e., 
its universality, by integration with itself as an element in the realized 
definiteness of the physical datum of the physical prehension. In this case 
we obtain what in Part III is termed a 'physical purpose/ In a physical 
purpose the subjective form has acquired a special appetition— adversion 
or aversion— in respect to that eternal object as a realized element of 
definiteness in that physical datum. This acquisition is derived from the 
conceptual prehension. The 'abruptness* of mental operations is here il- 
lustrated. The physical datum in itself illustrates an indefinite number 
of eternal objects. The 'physical purpose 7 has focussed appetition upon an 
abruptly selected eternal object. 

But with the growth of intensity in the mental pole, evidenced by the 
flash of novelty in appetition, the appetition takes the form of a 'preposi- 
tional prehension/ [281] These prehensions will be studied more partic- 
ularly in Part III. They are the prehensions of 'theories/ It is evident, how- 
ever, that the primary function of theories is as a lure for feeling, thereby 
providing immediacy of enjoyment and purpose. Unfortunately theories, 
under their name of 'propositions/ have been handed over to logicians, 
who have countenanced the doctrine that their one function is to be 
judged as to their truth or falsehood. Indeed Bradley does not mention 
'propositions' in his Logic. t He writes only of 'judgments/ Other authors 
define propositions as a component in judgment. The doctrine here laid 
clown is that, in the realization of propositions, 'judgment 7 is at very rare 
component, and so is 'consciousness/ The existence of imaginative litera- 


The Propositions 185 

ture should have warned logicians that their narrow doctrine is absurd. 
It is difficult to believe that all logicians as they read Hamlet's speech, 
"To be, or not to be: . . ." commence by judging whether the initial 
proposition be true or false, and keep up the task of judgment through- 
out the whole thirty-five lines. Surely, at some point in the reading, judg- 
ment is eclipsed by aesthetic delight. The speech, for the theatre audience, 
is purely theoretical, a mere lure for feeling. 

Again, consider strong religious emotion— consider a Christian medi- 
tating on the sayings in the Gospels. He is not judging 'true or false'; he 
is eliciting their value as elements in feeling. In fact, he may ground his 
judgment of truth upon his realization of value. But such a procedure is 
impossible, if the primary function of propositions is to be elements in 

The 'lure for feeling' is the final cause guiding the concrescence of 
feelings. By this concrescence the multifold datum of the primary phase 
is gathered into the unity of the final satisfaction of feeling. The 'objective 
lure' is that discrimination among eternal objects introduced into the 
universe by the real internal constitutions of the actual occasions forming 
the datum of the concrescence under review. This discrimination also 
in- \282] volves eternal objects excluded from value in the temporal occa- 
sions of that datum, in addition to involving the eternal objects included 
for such occasions. 

For example, consider the Battle of Waterloo. This battle resulted in 
the defeat of Napoleon, and in a constitution of our actual world grounded 
upon that defeat. But the abstract notions, expressing the possibilities of 
another course of history which would' have followed upon his victory, 
are relevant to the facts which actually happened. We may not think it 
of practical importance that imaginative historians should dwell upon 
such hypothetical alternatives. But we confess their relevance in thinking 
about them at all, even to the extent of dismissing them. But some imag- 
inative writers do not dismiss such ideas. Thus, in our actual world of 
today, there is a penumbra of eternal objects, constituted by relevance to 
the Battle of Waterloo. Some people do admit elements from this pen- 
umbral complex into effective feeling, and others wholly exclude them. 
Some are conscious of this internal decision of admission or rejection; for 
others the ideas float into their minds as day-dreams without consciousness 
of deliberate decision; for others, their emotional tone, of gratification 
or regret, of friendliness or hatred, is obscurely influenced by this pen- 
umbra of alternatives, without any conscious analysis of its content. The 
elements of this penumbra are prepositional prehensions, and not pure 
conceptual prehensions; for their implication of the particular nexus which 
ist the Battle of Waterloo is an essential factor. 

Thus an element in this penumbral complex is what is termed a 'propo- 
sition/ A proposition is at new kind of entity. It is a hybrid between pure 

186 Discussions and Applications 

potentialities and actualities. A 'singular' proposition is the potentiality 
of an actual world including a definite set of actual entities in a nexus of 
reactions involving the hypothetical ingression of a definite set of eternal 

A 'general' proposition only differs from a 'singular' proposition by the 
generalization of 'one definite set of [283] actual entities' into "any set 
belonging to a certain sort of sets.' If the sort of sets includes all sets with 
potentiality for that nexus of reactions, the proposition is called 'universal.' 

For the sake of simplicity, we will confine attention to singular propo- 
sitions; although a slight elaboration of explanation will easily extend the 
discussion to include general and universal propositions. 

The definite set of actual entities involved are called the 'logical sub- 
jects of the proposition'; and the definite set of eternal objects involved 
are called the 'predicates of the proposition.' The predicates define a 
potentiality of relatedness for the subjects. The predicates form one com- 
plex eternal object: this is 'the complex predicate.' The 'singular' propo- 
sition is the potentiality of this complex predicate finding realization in 
the nexus of reactions between the logical subjects, with assigned stations 
in the pattern for the various logical subjects. 

In a proposition the various logical subjects involved are impartially 
concerned. The proposition is no more about one logical subject than an- 
other logical subject. But according to the ontological principle, every 
proposition must be somewhere. The 'locus' of a proposition consists of 
those actual occasions whose actual worlds include the logical subjects 
of the proposition. When an actual entity belongs to the locus of a propo- 
sition, then conversely the proposition is an element in the lure for feeling 
of that actual entity. If by the decision of the concrescence, the proposi- 
tion has been admitted into feeling, then the proposition constitutes what 
the feeling has felt. The proposition constitutes a lure for a member of 
its locus by reason of the germaneness of the complex predicate to the 
logical subjects, having regard to forms of definiteness in the actual world 
of that member, and to its antecedent phases of feeling. 

The interest in logic, dominating overintellectualized philosophers, has 
obscured the main function of propositions in the nature of things. They 
are not primarily [284] for belief, but for feeling at the physical level of 
unconsciousness. They constitute a source for the origination of feeling 
which is not tied down to mere datum. A proposition is 'realized' by a 
member of its locus, when it is admitted into feeling. 

There are two types of relationship between a proposition and the actual 
world of a member of its locus. The proposition may be conformal or 
non-con formal to the actual world, true or false. 

When a conformal proposition is admitted into feeling, the reaction 
to the datum has simply resulted in the conformation of feeling to fact, 
with some emotional accession or diminution, by which the feelings in- 

The Propositions 187 

herent in alien fact are synthesized in a new individual valuation. The 
prehension of the proposition has abruptly emphasized one form of defi- 
niteness illustrated in fact. 

When a non-conformal proposition is admitted into feeling, the re- 
action to the datum has resulted in the synthesis of fact with the alterna- 
tive potentiality of the complex predicate. A novelty has emerged into 
creation. The novelty may promote or destroy order; it may be good or 
bad. But it is new, a new type of individual, and not merely a new inten- 
sity of individual feeling. That member of the locus has introduced a new 
form into the actual world; or,t at least, an old form in a new function. 

The conception of propositions as merely material for judgments is fatal 
to any understanding of their role in the universe. In that purely logical 
aspect, non-conformal propositions aret merely wrong, and therefore worse 
than useless. But in their primary role, they pave the way along which 
the world advances into novelty. Error is the price which we pay for 

The term 'proposition' suits these hybrid entities, t provided that we 
substitute the broad notion of 'feeling' for the narrower notions of 'judg- 
ment' and 'belief/ A proposition is an element in the objective lure pro- 
posed for feeling, and when admitted into feeling it constitutes [2851 what 
is felt. The 'imaginative' feeling (cf. Part III) of a proposition is one of 
the ways of feeling it; and intellectual belief is another way oft feeling the 
proposition, a way which presupposes imaginative feeling. Judgment is 
the decision admitting a proposition into intellectual belief. 

Anyone who at bedtime consciously reviews the events of the day is 
subconsciously projecting them against the penumbral welter of alterna- 
tives. He is also unconsciously deciding feelings so as to maximize his pri- 
mary feeling, and to secure its propagation beyond his immediate present 
occasion. In considering the life-history of occasions, forming the historic 
route of an enduring physical object, there are three possibilities as to the 
subjective aims which dominate the internal concrescence of the separate 
occasions. Either (i), the satisfactions f of the antecedent occasions may 
be uniform with each other, and each internally without discord or incite- 
ment to novelty. In such a case, apart from novel discordance introduced 
by the environment, there is the mere conformal transformation of the 
feeling belonging to the datum into the identical feeling belonging to the 
immediate subject. Such pure conformation involves the exclusion of all 
the contraries involved in the lure, with their various grades of proximity 
and remoteness. This is an absolute extreme of undifferentiated endurance, 
of which we have no direct evidence. In every instance for which we can 
analyse, however imperfectly, the formal constitutions of successive oc- 
casions, these constitutions are characterized by contraries supervening 
upon the aboriginal data, butt with a regularity of alternation which pro- 
cures stability in the life-history. Contrast is thus gained. Tn physical sci- 

188 Discussions and Applications 

ence, this is vibration/ This is the main character of the life-histories of 
an inorganic physical object, stabilized in type. 

Or (ii), there is a zest for the enhancement of some dominant element 
of feeling, received from the data, enhanced by decision admitting non- 
conformation of [286] conceptual feeling to other elements in the data, 
and culminating in a satisfaction transmitting enhancement of the dom- 
inant element by reason of novel contrasts and inhibitions. Such a life-history 
involves growth dominated by a single final end. This is the main character 
of a physical object in process of growth. Such physical objects are mainly 
'organic/ so far as concerns our present knowledge of the world. 

Or (iii), there is a zest for the elimination of all dominant elements of 
feeling, received from the data. In such a case, the route soon loses its 
historic individuality. It is the case of decay. 

The first point to be noticed is that the admission of the selected ele- 
ments in the lure, as felt contraries, primarily generates purpose; it then 
issues in satisfaction; and satisfaction qualifies the efficient causation. But 
a felt 'contrary' is consciousness in germ. When the contrasts and identi- 
ties of such feelings are themselves felt, we have consciousness. It is the 
knowledge of ideas, in Locke's sense of that term. Consciousness requires 
more than the mere entertainment of theory. It is the feeling of the con- 
trast of theory, as mere theory, with fact, as mere fact. This contrast holds 
whether or no the theory be correct. 

A proposition, in abstraction from any particular actual entity which 
may be realizing it in feeling, is a manner of germaneness of a certain 
set of eternal objects to a certain set of actual entities. Every proposition 
presupposes those actual entities which are its logical subjects. It also pre- 
supposes certain definite actual entities, or a certain type of actual entities,! 
within a wide systematic nexus. In an extreme case, this nexus may com- 
prise any actual entity whatsoever. 

The presupposed logical subjects may not be in the actual world of 
some actual entity. In this case, the proposition does not exist for that 
actual entity. The pure concept of such a proposition refers in the hypo- 
thetical future beyond that actual entity. The propo- [287] sition itself awaits 
its logical subjects. Thus propositions grow with the creative advance of the 
world. They are neither pure potentials, nor pure actualities; they are a 
manner of potential nexus involving pure potentials and pure actualities. 
They are a new type of entities. Entities of this impure type presuppose 
the two pure types of entities. 

The primary mode of realization of a proposition in an actual entityt 
is not by judgment, but by entertainment. A proposition is entertained 
when it is admitted into feeling. Horror, relief, purpose, are primarily 
feelings involving the entertainment of propositions. 

In conclusion, there are four main types of entities in the universe, of 
which two are primary types and two are hybrid types. The primary types 
are actual entities and pure potentials (eternal objects); the hybrid types 

The Propositions 189 

are feelings and propositions (theories). Feelings are the 'real' components 
of actual entities. Propositions are only realizable as one sort of 'objective' 
datum for feelings. 

The primary element in the 'lure for feeling' is the subject's prehension 
of the primordial nature of God. Conceptual feelings are generated, and 
by integration with physical feelings a subsequent phase of prepositional 
feelings supervenes. The lure for feeling develops with the concrescent 
phases of the subject in question. I have spoken of it elsewhere (cf. Science 
and the\ Modern World, Ch. XI). 

It is this realized extension of eternal relatedness beyond the mutual 
relatedness of the actual occasions which prehends into each occasion 
the full sweep of eternal relatedness. I term this abrupt* realization 
the 'graded envisagement' which each occasion prehends into its syn- 
thesis. This gradedt envisagement is how the actual includes what 
(in one sense) is 'not-being' as a positive factor in its own achieve- 
ment. It is the source of error, of truth, of art, of ethics, and of re- 
ligion. By it, fact is confronted with alternatives. [288] 


All metaphysical theories which admit a disjunction between the 
component elements of individual experience on the one hand.t and on the 
other hand the component elements of the external world, must inevitably 
run into difficulties over the truth and falsehood of propositions, and 
over the grounds for judgment. The former difficulty is metaphysical, the 
latter epistemological. But all difficulties as to first principles are only 
camouflaged metaphysical difficulties. Thus also the epistemological dif- 
ficulty is only solvable by an appeal to ontology. The first difficulty poses 
the question as to the account of truth and falsehood, and the second 
difficulty poses the question as to the account of the intuitive perception 
of truth and falsehood. The former concerns propositions, the latter con- 
cerns judgments. There is a togetherness of the component elements in 
individual experience. This 'togetherness' has that special peculiar meaning 
of 'togetherness in experience.' It is a togetherness of its own kind, ex- 
plicable by reference to nothing else. For the purpose of this discussion 
it is indifferent whether we speak of a 'stream' of experience, or of an 
'occasion' of experience. With the former alternative there is togetherness 
in the stream, and with the latter alternative there is togetherness in the 
occasion. In either case, there is the unique 'experiential togetherness.' 

The consideration of experiential togetherness raises the final metaphysi- 
cal question: whether there is any other meaning of 'togetherness.' The 
denial of any alternative meaning, that is to say, of any meaning not 
abstracted from the experiential meaning, is the 'subjectivist' doctrine. 
This reformed version of the subjecfivist doctrine is the doctrine of the 
philosophy of organism. 

190 Discussions and Applications 

The contrary doctrine, that there is a 'togetherness' not derivative from 
experiential togetherness, leads to the disjunction of the components of 
subjective experience from the community of the external world. This 
dis- [289] junction creates the insurmountable difficulty for epistemology. 
For intuitive judgment is concerned with togetherness in experience, and 
there is no bridge between togetherness in experience, and togetherness 
of the non-experiential sort. 

This difficulty is the point of Kant's 'transcendental' criticism. He 
adopted a subjectivist position, so that the temporal world was merely 
experienced. But according to his form of the subjectivist doctrine, in the 
Critique of Pure Reason, no element in the temporal world could itself 
be an experient. His temporal world, as in that Critique, was in its essence 
dead, phantasmal, phenomenal. Kant was a mathematical physicist, and 
his cosmological solution was sufficient for the abstractions to which math- 
ematical physics is confined. 

The difficulties of the subjectivist doctrine arise when it is combined 
with the 'sensationalist' doctrine concerning the analysis of the compo- 
nents which are together in experience. According to that analysis in such 
a component the only elements not stamped with the particularity of that 
individual 'occasion'— or 'stream'— of experience are universals such as 
'redness' or 'shape,' With the sensationalist assumption, or with any gen- 
eralization of that doctrine, so long as the elements in question are uni- 
versals, the only alternatives are, either Bradley's doctrine of a single ex- 
perient, the absolute, or Leibniz's doctrine of many windowless monads. 
Kant, in his final metaphysics, must either retreat to Leibniz, or advance 
to Bradley. Either alternative stamps experience with a certain air of 
illusoriness.t The Leibnizian solution can mitigate the illusoriness only 
by recourse to a pious dependence upon God. This principle was invoked 
by Descartes and by Leibniz, in order to help out their epistemology. It is 
a device very repugnant to a consistent rationality. The very possibility of 
knowledge should not be an accident of God's goodness; it should depend 
on the interwoven natures of things. After all, God's knowledge has equally 
to be explained. 

[290] The philosophy of organism admits the subjectivist doctrine (as 
here stated), but rejects the sensationalist doctrine: hence its doctrine of 
the objectification of one actual occasion in the experience of another 
actual occasion. Each actual entity is a throb of experience including the 
actual world within its scope. The problems of efficient causation and of 
knowledge receive a common explanation by reference to the texture of 
actual occasions. The theory of judgment in the philosophy of organism 
can equally well be described as a 'correspondence' theory or as a 'coher- 
ence' theory. It is a correspondence theory, because it describes judgment 
as the subjective form of the integral prehension of the conformity, or of the 
non-conformity, of at proposition and an objectified nexus. The prehen- 
sion in question arises from the synthesis of two prehensions, one physical 

The Propositions 191 

and the other mental. The physical prehension is the prehension of the 
nexus of objectified actual occasions. The mental prehension is the pre- 
hension of the proposition. This latter prehension is necessarily 'impure/ 
and it arises from a history of antecedent synthesis whereby a pure con- 
ceptual prehension transfers its datum as a predicate of hypothetical re- 
latedness for the actualities in the datum of some physical prehension 
(cf. Part III). But the origination of a propositional prehension does not 
concern us in this description of judgment. The sole point is the synthesis 
of a physical prehension and propositional prehension into an 'intellectual' 
prehension (cf. Part III) whose subjective form involves judgment. 

This judgment is concerned with a conformity of two components 
within one experience. It is thus a 'coherence' theory. It is also concerned 
with the conformity of a proposition, not restricted to that individual ex- 
perience, with a nexus whose relatedness is derived from the various ex- 
periences of its own members and not from that of the judging experient.t 
In this sense there is a 'correspondence' theory. But, at this point of the 
argument, a distinction must be made. We shall say that a [291] proposi- 
tion can be true or false, and that a judgment can be correct, or incorrect, 
or suspended. With this distinction we see that there is a 'correspondence' 
theory of the truth and falsehood of propositions, and a 'coherence' theory 
of the correctness, incorrectness and suspensiont of judgments. 

In the 'organic' doctrine, a clear distinction between a judgment and 
a proposition has been made. A judgment is a feeling in the 'process' of 
the judging subject, and it is correct or incorrect respecting that subject. 
It enters, as a value, into the satisfaction of that subject; and it can only 
be criticized by the judgments of actual entities in the future. A judgment 
concerns the universe in process of prehension by the judging subject. It 
will primarily concern a definite selection of objectified actual entities, and 
of eternal objects; and it affirms the physical objectification— for the judg- 
ing subject— of those actual entities by the ingression of those eternal ob- 
jects; so that there is one objectified nexus of those actual entities, judged 
to be really interconnected, and qualified, by those eternal objects. This 
judgment affirms, correctly or incorrectly, a real fact in the constitution of 
the judging subject. Here there is no room for any qualification of the 
categorical character of the judgment. The judgment is made about itself 
by the judging subject, and is at feeling in the constitution of the judging 
subject. The actual entities, with which the judgment is explicitly con- 
cerned, comprise the 'logical' subjects of the judgment, and the selected 
eternal objects form the 'qualities' and 'relations' which are affirmed of 
the logical subjects. 

This affirmation about the logical subjects is obviously 'affirmation' in a 
sense derivative from the meaning of 'affirmation' about the judging sub- 
ject. Identification of the two senses will lead to error. In the latter** sense 
there is abstraction from the judging subject. The subjectivist principle 
has been transcended, and the judgment has shifted its emphasis from 

192 Discussions and Applications 

the objectified nexus [292] to the truth-value of the proposition in ques- 
tion. Having regard to the fact that judgment concerns the subjective form 
of an impure feeling arising from the integration of simpler feelings, we 
note that judgments are divisible into two sorts. These are (i) intuitive 
judgments and (ii) derivative judgments. In an intuitive judgment the 
integration of the physical datum with the proposition elicits into feeling 
the full complex detail of the proposition in its comparison of identity, 
or diversity, in regard to the complex detail of the physical datum. The 
intuitive judgment is the consciousness of this complex detailed com- 
parison involving identity and diversity. Such a judgment is in its nature 
correct. For it is the consciousness of what is. 

In a derivative judgment the integration of the physical datum with 
the proposition elicits into feeling the full complex detail of the proposi- 
tion, but does not elicit into feeling the full comparison of this detail with 
the complex detail of the physical fact. There is some comparison involv- 
ing the remainder of the detail. But the subjective form embraces the 
totality of the proposition, instead of assuming a complex pattern which 
discriminates between the compared and the uncompared components. In 
derivative judgments there can be error. Logic is the analysis of the rela- 
tionships between propositions in virtue of which derivative judgments 
will not introduce errors, other than those already attaching to the judg- 
ments in+ the premises. Most judgments are derivative; such judgments 
illustrate the doctrine that the subjective form of a feeling is affected by 
the totality of the actual occasion. This has been termed the 'sensitivity' of 
feelings in one occasion. In an intuitive judgment the subjective form of 
assent or dissent has been restrained, so as to derive its character solely 
from the contrasts in the datum. Even in this case, the emotional force of 
the judgment, as it passes into purpose, is derived from the whole judging 

Further, the judging subject and the logical subjects [293] refer to a uni- 
verse with the general metaphysical character which represents its 'pa- 
tience' for those subjects, and also its 'patience' for those eternal objects. 
In each judgment the universe is ranged in a hierarchy of wider and wider 
societies, as explained above (cf. Part II, Ch. III). It follows that the 
distinction between the logical subjects, with their qualities and relations, 
and the universe as systematic background, is not quite so sharply defined 
as the previous explanation suggests. For it is a matter of convention as 
to which of the proximate societies are reckoned as logical subjects and 
which as background. Another way of stating this shading off of logical 
subjects into background t is to say that the patience of the universe for a 
real fact in a judging subject is a hierarchical patience involving systematic 
gradations of character. This discussion substantiates the statement made 
above (cf. Part I, Ch. I, Sect. V), that a verbal statement is never the full 
expression of a proposition. 

We now recur to the distinction between a proposition and a judgment. 

The Propositions 193 

A proposition emerges in the analysis of a judgment; it is the datum of 
the judgment in abstraction from the judging subject and from the sub- 
jective form. A judgment x is a synthetic feeling, embracing two subordinate 
feelings in one unity of feeling. Of these subordinate feelings one is propo- 
sitional, merely entertaining the proposition which is its datum. The same 
proposition can constitute the content of diverse judgments by diverse 
judging entities respectively. The possibility of diverse judgments by di- 
verse actual entities, having the same content (of 'proposition' in con- 
trast with 'nexus'), requires that the same complex of logical subjects, ob- 
jectified via the same eternal objects, can enter as a partial constituent 
into the 'real' essences of diverse actual entities. The judgment is a de- 
cision of feeling, the proposition is what is felt; but it is only part of the 
datum felt. 

But, since each actual world is relative to standpoint, [294] it is only 
some actual entities which will have the standpoints so as to include,! in 
their actual world, the actual entities which constitute the logical subjects 
of the proposition. Thus every proposition defines the judging subjects 
for which it is a proposition. Every proposition presupposes some definite 
settled actual entities in the actual world of its judging subject; and thus 
its possible judging subjects must have these actual entities in the actual 
world of each of them. All judgment requires knowledge of the pre- 
supposed actual entities. Thus in addition to the requisite composition of 
the actual world presupposed by a proposition, there must be the requi- 
site knowledge of that world presupposed by a judgment, whether the 
judgment be correct or incorrect. For actual entities, whose actual worlds 
have not the requisite composition, the proposition is non-existent; for 
actual entities, without the requisite knowledge, the judgment is im- 
possible. It is quite true that a more abstract proposition can be modelled 
on the lines of the original proposition, so as to avoid the presupposition of 
some or all of these settled actual entities which are the logical subjects 
in the original proposition. This new proposition will have meaning for a 
wider group of possible subjects than the original proposition. Some propo- 
sitions seem to us to have meaning for all possible judging subjects. This 
may be the case; but I do not dare to affirm that our metaphysical capac- 
ities are sufficiently developed to warrant any certainty on this question. 
Perhaps we are always presupposing some wide society beyond which our 
imaginations cannot leap. But the vagueness of verbal statements is such 
that the same form of words is taken to represent a whole set of allied 
propositions of various grades of abstractness. 

A judgment weakens or strengthens the decision whereby the judged 
proposition, as a constituent in the lure, is admitted as an efficient element 
m the concrescence, with the reinforcement of knowledge. A judgment is 
the critique of a lure for feeling. 

1 Cf. Part III, Ch. V.f 

194 Discussions and Applications 


[295] It now remains to consider the sense in which the actual world, 
in some systematic aspect, enters into each proposition. This investigation 
is wholly concerned with the notion of the logical subjects of the proposi- 
tion. These logical subjects are, in the old sense of the term, 'particulars.' 
They are not concepts in comparison with other concepts; they are par- 
ticular facts in a potential pattern. 

But particulars must be indicated; because the proposition concerns just 
those particulars and no others. Thus the indication belongs to the propo- 
sition; namely, 'Those particulars as thus indicated in such-and-such a 
predicative pattern' constitutes the proposition. Apart from the indication 
there is no proposition because there are no determinate particulars. Thus 
we have to study the theory of indication. 

Some definitions are required: 

A 'relation' between occasions is an eternal object illustrated in the 
complex of mutual prehensions by virtue of which those occasions con- 
stitute a nexus. 

A relation is called a 'dual relation' when the nexus in which it is real- 
ized consists of two, and only two, actual occasions. It is a 'triple relation' 
when there are three occasions, and so on. 

There will, in general, be an indefinite number of eternal objects thus 
illustrated in the mutual prehensions of the occasions of any one nexus; 
that is to say, there are an indefinite number of relations realized between 
the occasions of any particular nexus. 

A 'general principle' is an eternal object which is only illustrated through 
its 'instances,' which are also eternal objects. Thus the realization of an 
instance is also the realization of the general principle of which that eter- 
nal object is an instance. But the converse is not true; namely, the realiza- 
tion of the general principle does not involve the realization of any par- 
ticular instance, though [296] it does necessitate the realization of some 
instance. Thus the instances each involve the general principle, but the 
general principle only involves at least one instance. In general, the in- 
stances of a general principle are mutually exclusive, so that the realiza- 
tion of one instance involves the exclusion of the other instances. For 
example, colour is a general principle and colours are the instances. So if 
all sensible bodies exhibit the general principle, which is colour, each body 
exhibits some definite colour. Also each body exhibiting a definite colour 
is thereby 'coloured.' 

A nexus exhibits an 'indicative system' of dual relations among its mem- 
bers, when (i) one, and only one, relation of the system relates each pair 
of its members; and (ii) these relations are instances of a general prin- 
ciple; and (iii) the relation (in the system) between any member A and 
anv other member B does not also relate A and a member of the nexus 

The Propositions 195 

other than B; and (iv) the relations (in the system) between A and B 
and between A and C suffice to define the relation (in the system) be- 
tween B and C, where A, B, and C are any three members of the nexus. 

Thus if A and X be any two members of the nexus, and if X has knowl- 
edge of A's systematic relation to it and also of A's systematic relations to 
B ? C, and D, where B, C, and D are members of the nexus, then X has 
knowledge of its own systematic relations to B, C, and D, and of the 
mutual systematic relations between B, C, and D. Such a nexus admits of 
the precise indication of its members from the standpoint of any one of 
them. The relative where' presupposes a nexus exhibiting an indicative 
system. More complex types of indicative systems can be defined; but the 
simplest type suffices to illustrate the principle involved. We have been 
defining Aristotle's category of 'position/ It will be noticed that in a nexus 
with an indicative system of relations, the subjective aspect of experience 
can be eliminated from propositions involved. For a knowledge of B and 
C and D as from A [297] yields a proposition concerning C and D as from 
B. Thus the prevalent notion, that the particular subject of experience can, 
in the nature of the case, never be eliminated from the experienced fact, 
is quite untrue. 

Every proposition presupposes some general nexus with an indicative 
relational system. This nexus includes its locus of judging subjects and 
also its logical subjects. This presupposition is part of the proposition, and 
the proposition cannot be entertained by any subject for which the pre- 
supposition is not valid. Thus in a proposition certain characteristics are 
presupposed for the judging subject and for the logical subjects. This pre- 
supposition of character can be carried further than the mere requirements 
of indication require. For example, in 'Socrates is mortal' the mere spatio- 
temporal indicative system may be sufficient to indicate 'Socrates/ But 
the proposition may mean 'The man Socrates is mortal/ or 'The philoso- 
pher Socrates is mortal/ The superfluous indication may be part of the 
proposition. Anyhow, the principle that a proposition presupposes the 
actual world as exhibiting some systematic aspect has now been explained. 

This discussion can be illustrated by the proposition, 'Caesar has crossed 
the Rubicon/ This form of words symbolizes an indefinite number of di- 
verse propositions. In its least abstract form 'Caesar stands for a society of 
settled actual entities in the actual world from the standpoint of the judg- 
ing subject, with their objectifications consciously perceived by the sub- 
ject. The whole theory of perception will come up for further discussion 
in a later chapter (cf. Part III); at this point it can be assumed. The word 
'Rubicon' is to be explained in the same way as the word 'Caesar/ The 
only points left ambiguous respecting 'Caesar' and 'Rubicon' are that 
these societies— either or both, and each with its defining characteristic- 
may be conjecturally supposed to be prolonged up to the world contem- 
porary with the judging subject, or, even more conjecturally, into the 
future [298] world beyond the subject. The past tense of the word 'has' 

196 Discussions and Applications 

shows that this point of ambiguity is irrelevant, so that the proposition can 
be framed so as to ignore it. But it need not be so framed: one of Caesar's 
old soldiers may in later years have sat on the bank of the river and medi- 
tated on the assassination of Caesar, and on Caesar's passage over the 
little river tranquilly flowing before his gaze. This would have been a 
different proposition from the more direct one which I am now consider- 
ing. Nothing could better illustrate the hopeless ambiguity of language; 
since both propositions fit the same verbal phraseology. There is yet a 
third proposition: a modern traveller sitting on the bank of the Rubicon, 
and meditating on his direct perceptions of actual occasions can locate, 
relatively to himself by spatio-temporal specifications, an event which 
inferentially and conjecturally he believes to include a portion of the past 
history of the Rubicon as directly known to him. He also, by an analogous 
process of inference and conjecture, and of spatio-temporal specification, 
locates relatively to himself another event which he believes to contain 
the life of Caesar of whom he has no direct knowledge. The proposition 
meditated on by this traveller sitting on the bank of the modern river is 
evidently a different proposition to that in the mind of Caesar's old soldier. 
Then there is the proposition which might have been in the mind of one 
of the crowd who listened to Antony's speech, a man who had seen Caesar 
and not the Rubicon. 

It is obvious that in this way an indefinite number of highly special 
propositions can be produced, differing from each other by fine gradations. 
Everything depends upon the differences in direct perceptive knowledge 
which these various propositions presuppose for their subjects. But there 
are propositions of at more general type, for which 'Caesar' and 'Rubicon' 
have more generalized, vaguer meanings. In these vaguer meanings. 'Caesar' 
and 'Rubicon' indicate the entities, if any, located by any one member of 
a type of routes, starting from a [299] certain type of inference and con- 
jecture. Also there are some such propositions in which the fact of there 
being such entities, to be thus located, is part of the content whereby the 
judgment is true or false; and there are other propositions in which even 
this requisite is evaded, so far as truth or falsehood is concerned. It is by 
reason of these various types of more abstract propositions that we can 
conceive the hypothetical existence of the more special propositions which 
for some of us, as judging subjects, would be meaningless. 

This discussion should show the futility of taking any verbal statement, 
such as 'Caesar has crossed the Rubicon/ and arguing about the meaning. 
Also any proposition, which satisfies the verbal form so as to be one of its 
possibilities of meaning, defines its own locus of subjects; and only for 
such subjects is there the possibility of a judgment whose content is that 

A proposition is the potentiality of the objectification of certain pre- 
supposed actual entities via certain qualities and relations, the objectifi- 
cation being for some unspecified subject for which the presupposition has 

The Propositions 197 

meaning in direct experience. The judgment is the conscious affirmation 
by a particular subject— for which the presupposition holds— that this 
potentiality is, or is not, realized for it. It must be noticed that 'realized' 
does not mean 'realized in direct conscious experience/ but does mean 
'realized as being contributory to the datum out of which that judging 
subject originates/ Since direct t conscious experience is usually absent, a 
judgment can be erroneous. 

Thus a proposition is an example of what Locke calls an 'idea deter- 
mined to particular existences/ It is the potentiality of such an idea; the 
realized idea, admitted to decision in a given subject, is the judgment, 
which may be a true or false idea about the particular things. The discus- 
sion of this question must be resumed (cf. Part III) when conceptual 
activity is examined. But it is evident that a proposition is a complex 
entity which [300] stands between the eternal objects and the actual oc- 
casions. Compared to eternal objects a proposition shares in the concrete 
particularity of actual occasions; and compared to actual occasions a propo- 
sition shares in the abstract generality of eternal objects. Finally, it must 
be remembered that propositions enter into experience in other ways than 
through judgment-feelings. + 


A metaphysical proposition— in the proper, general sense of the termt 
'metaphysical— signifies a proposition which (i) has meaning for any- 
actual occasion, as a subject entertaining it, and (ii) is 'general/ in the 
sense that its predicate potentially relates any and every set of actual oc- 
casions, providing the suitable number of logical subjects for the predi- 
cative pattern, and (iii) has a 'uniform' truth-value, in the sense that, by 
reason of its form and scope, its truth-value is identical with the truth- 
value of each of the singular propositions to be obtained by restricting the 
application of the predicate to any one set of logical subjects. It is obvious 
that, if a metaphysical proposition be true, the third condition is un- 
necessary. For a general proposition can only be true if this condition be 
fulfilled. But if the general proposition be false, then it is only metaphysical 
when in addition each of the derivate singular propositions is false. The 
general proposition would be false, if any one of the derivate singular 
propositions were false. But the third condition is expressed in the propo- 
sition without any dependence upon the determination of the proposition's 
truth or falsehood. 

There can be no cosmic epoch for which the singular propositions de- 
rived from a metaphysical proposition differ in truth-valuet from those of 
any other cosmic epoch. 

We certainly think that we entertain metaphysical propositions: but, 
having regard to the mistakes of the past respecting the principles of 
geometry, it is wise to [30 J] reserve some scepticism on this point The 

198 Discussions and Applications 

propositions which seem to be most obviously metaphysical are the arith- 
metical theorems. I will therefore illustrate the justification both for the 
belief, and for the residual scepticism, by an examination of one of the 
simplest of such theorems: One and one make two. 2 

Certainly, this proposition, construed in the sense 'one entity and an- 
other entity make two entities/" seems to be properly metaphysical without 
any shadow of limitation upon its generality, or truth. But we must hesi- 
tate even here, when we notice that it is usually asserted, with equal con- 
fidence as to the generality of its metaphysical truth, in a sense which is 
certainly limited, and sometimes untrue. In our reference to the actual 
world, we rarely consider an individual actual entity. The objects of our 
thoughts are almost always societies, or looser groups of actual entities. 
Now, for the sake of simplicity, consider a society of the 'personal' type. 
Such a society will be a linear succession of actual occasions forming a 
historical route in which some defining characteristic is inherited by each 
occasion from its predecessors. A society of this sort is an 'enduring ob- 
ject/ Probably, a simple enduring object is simpler than anything which 
we ordinarily perceive or think about. It is the simplest type of society; 
and for any duration of its existence it requires that its environment be 
largely composed of analogous simplef enduring objects. What we nor- 
mally consider is the wider society in which many strands of enduring 
objects are to be found, a 'corpuscular society/ 

Now consider two distinct enduring objects. They will be easier to 
think about if their defining characteristics are different. We will call these 
defining characteristics a and b y and also will use these letters, a and b, 
as the names of the two enduring objects. Now the proposition 'one entity 
and another entity make two [302] entities' is usually construed in the 
sense that, given two enduring objects, any act of attention which con- 
sciously comprehends an actual occasion from each of the two historic 
routes will necessarily discover two actual occasions, one from each of the 
two distinct routes. For example, suppose that a cup and a saucer are two 
such enduring objects, which of course they are not; we always assume 
that, so long as they are both in existence and are sufficiently close to be 
seen in one glance, any act of attention, whereby we perceive the cup and 
perceive the saucer, will thereby involve the perception of two actual en- 
tities, one the cup in one occasion of its existence and the other the saucer 
in one occasion of its existence. There can be no reasonable doubt as to 
the truth of this assumption in this particular example. But in making 
it, we are very far from the metaphysical proposition from which we 
started. We are in fact stating a truth concerning the wide societies of 
entities amid which our lives are placed. It is a truth concerning this 
cosmos, but not a metaphysical truth. 

Let us return to the two truly simple enduring objects, a and b. Also 

2 For the proof of this proposition, cf. Principia Mathematical Vol. II, 

The Propositions 199 

let us assume that their defining characteristics, a and b, are not con- 
traries, so that both of them can qualify the same actual occasion. Then 
there is no general metaphysical reason why the distinct routes of a and b 
should not intersect in at least one actual occasion. Indeed, having regard 
to the extreme generality of the notion of a simple enduring object, it is 
practically certain that— with the proper choice for the defining character- 
istics, a and b— intersecting historic routes for a and b must have fre- 
quently come into existence. In such a contingency a being who could 
consciously distinguish the two distinct enduring objects a and b, so as 
to have knowledge of their distinct defining characteristics and their dis- 
tinct historic routes, might find a and b exemplified in one actual entity. 
It is as though the cup and the saucer were at one instant identical; and 
then, later on, resumed their distinct existence. 

[303] We hardly ever apply arithmetic in its pure metaphysical sense, 
without the addition of presumptions which depend for their truth on the 
character of the societies dominating the cosmic epoch in which we live. 
It is hardly necessary to draw attention to the fact, that ordinary verbal 
statements make no pretence of discriminating the different senses in which 
an arithmetical statement can be understood. 

There is no difficulty in imagining a world— i.e., a cosmic epoch— in 
which arithmetic would be an interesting fanciful topic for dreamers, but 
useless for practical people engrossed in the business of life. In fact, we 
seem to have been only barely rescued from such a state of things. For 
amid the actual occasions located in the wilds of so-called 'empty space/ 
and well removed from the enduring objects which go to form the en- 
during material bodies, it is quite probable that the contemplation of 
arithmetic would not direct attention to any very important relations of 
things. It is, of course, a mere speculation that any actual entity, occurring 
in such an environment of faintly coordinated achievement, achieves the 
intricacy of constitution required for conscious mental operations. 


We ask the metaphysical question, What is there in the nature of 
things, whereby an inductive inference, or a judgment of general truth, 
can be significantly termed 'correct' or Incorrect'? For example, we believe 
now— July 1, 1927— that the railway time-tables for the United States, 
valid for the previous months of May and June, represent the facts as to 
the past running of the trains, within certain marginal limits of unpunc- 
tuality, and allowing for a few individual breakdowns. Also we believe 
that the current time-tables for July will be exemplified, subject to the 
same qualifications. On the evidence before us our beliefs are justified, 
provided that we introduce into our judgments some estimate of the 
[304] high probability which is all that we mean to affirm. If we are con- 
sidering astronomical events, our affirmations will include an estimate of 

200 Discussions and Applications 

a higher probability. Though even here some margin of uncertainty may 
exist The computers of some famous observatory may have made an un- 
precedented error; or some unknown physical law may have important 
relevance to the condition of the star mainly concerned, leading to its 
unexpected explosion. 3 

This astronomical contingency, and the beliefs which cluster round it, 
have been stated with some detail, because— as thus expressed— they 
illustrate the problem as it shapes itself in philosophy. Also the example 
of the railway time-tables illustrates another point. For it is possible 
momentarily, in Vermont on July 1, 1927, to forget that the unprecedented 
Mississippi floods happened during that May and June; so that although 
the estimate as to error in punctuality was justified by the evidence con- 
sciously before us, it did not in fact allow for the considerable derange- 
ment of the traffic in some states in the Union. 4 The point of this illus- 
tration from railway trains is that there is a conformity to matter of fact 
which these judgments exhibit, even if the events concerned have not 
happened, or will not happen. These considerations introduce the funda- 
mental principle concerning 'judgment/ It is that all judgment is categor- 
ical; it concerns a proposition true or false in its application to the actual 
occasion which is the subject making the judgment. This doctrine is not 
so far from Bradley's doctrine of judgment, as explained in his Logic. 
According to Bradley, the ultimate subject of every judgment is the one 
ultimate substance, the absolute. Also, according to him, the judging 
subject is a mode of the absolute, self-contradictory if taken to be inde- 
pendently actual. For Bradley, the judging subject has only a [305] deriva- 
tive actuality, which is the expression of its status as an affection of the 
absolute. Thus,! in Bradley's doctrine, a judgment is an operation by which 
the absolute, under the limitations of one of its affections, enjoys self- 
consciousness of its enjoyment of affections. It will be noticed that in 
this bald summary of Bradley's position, I am borrowing Spinoza's phrase, 
'affeciiones substantial 

In the philosophy of organism, an actual occasion—as has been stated 
above— is the whole universe in process of attainment of a particular 
satisfaction. Bradley's doctrine of actuality is simply inverted. The final 
actuality is the particular process with its particular attainment of satis- 
faction. The actuality of the universe is merely derivative from its soli- 
darity in each actual entity. It must be held that judgment concerns the 
universe as objectified from the standpoint of the judging subject. It con- 
cerns the universe through that subject. 

With this doctrine in mind, we pass to the discussion of the sense in 
which probability can be a positive fact in an actual entity; so that a propo- 

8 Since this sentence was written in July, 1927, a star has unexpectedly split 
in two, in March, 1928. 

4 Still less, at the time of writing this sentence, were the Vermont floods of 
November, 1927, foreseen. 

The Propositions 201 

sition expressing the probability of some other proposition can in this 
respect agree or disagree with the constitution of the judging entity. The 
notion of 'probability/ in the widest sense of that term, presents a puzzling 
philosophical problem. The mathematical theory of probability is based 
upon certain statistical assumptions. When these assumptions hold, the 
meaning of probability is simple; and the only remaining difficulties are 
concerned with the technical mathematical development. But it is not 
easy to understand how the statistical theory can apply to all cases to 
which the notion of more or less probability is habitually applied. For 
example, when we consider— as we do consider— the probability of some 
scientific conjecture as to the internal constitution of the stars, or as to 
the future of human society after some unprecedented convulsion, we 
seem to be influenced by some analogy which it is very difficult to convert 
into an appeal to any definite statistical fact. We may consider that it is 
probable [306] that the judgment could be justified by some statistical 
appeal, if we only knew where to look. This is the belief that the statistical 
probability is itself probable. But here, evidently, there is an appeal to a 
wider meaning of probability in order to support the statistical probability 
applicable to the present case. It is arguable that this wider probability 
is itself another statistical probability as to the existence of the special 
statistics relevant to such types of scientific argument. But in this explana- 
tion puzzling questions are accumulating; and it is impossible to avoid the 
suspicion that we are being put off with one of those make-believe ex- 
planations, so useful to reasoners who are wedded to a theory. The phi- 
losophy of organism provides two distinct elements in the universe from 
which an intuition of probability can originate. One of them is statistical. 
In this and the next two sections, + an attempt will be made to justify 
the statistical theory. It is therefore the more imperative to survey care- 
fully the difficulties which have to be met. 

In the first place, probability is always relative* to evidence; so, on 
the statistical theory, the numerical probability will mean the numerical 
ratio of favourable to unfavourable cases in the particular class of 'cases' 
selected as the 'ground 7 for statistical comparison. But alternative 'grounds' 
certainly exist. Accordingly we must provide a reason,f not based upon 
'probability/ why one 'ground' is selected rather than another. We may 
admit such a chain of vaguer and vaguer probabilities, in which our first 
ground is selected as statistically probable in respect to its superiority to 
other 'grounds' of other types. We are thus driven back to a second-order 
ground' of probability. We may logically proceed to third-order 'grounds/ 
and so on. But if the statistical theory is to be substantiated, after a finite 
number of steps we must reach a 'ground' which is not selected for any 
reason of probability. It must be selected because it is the 'ground' pre- 
supposed in all our reasonings. [307] Apart from some such ultimate 
'ground,' the statistical theory, viewed as an ultimate explanation for all 
our uses of the notion of 'probability/ must inevitably fail. This failure 

202 Discussions and Applications 

arises by reason of the complete arbitrariness of the ultimate 'ground' 
upon which the whole estimate of probability finally rests. 

Secondly, the primary requisite for a 'ground' suitable for statistical 
probability seems itself to appeal to probability. The members of the 
class, called the 'ground/ must themselves be 'cases of equal probability/ 
some favourable and some unfavourable, with the possibility of the limit- 
ing types of 'ground' in which all members are favourable, or all members 
are unfavourable. The proposition in question, whose probability is to be 
estimated, must be known to be a member of the 'ground'; but no other 
evidence, as to the set— favourable or unfavourable—to which t the propo- 
sition belongs, enters into consideration. It is evident that 7 for the ulti- 
mate ground, the phrase 'cases of equal probability' must be explicable 
without reference to any notion of probability. The principle of such an 
explanation is easily found by reference to the six faces of dice. A die is 
a given fact; and its faces do not differ, qua faces, in any circumstance 
relative to their fall with one face upwards or another face upwards. Also 
beyond this given fact, there is ignorance. Thus again we are driven to an 
ultimate fact: there must be an ultimate species, and the specific character 
must be irrelevant to the 'favourableness' or 'unfavourableness' of the 
members of the species in their capacity of cases. All this must be given 
in direct knowledge without any appeal to probability. Also there must 
be equally direct knowledge of the proportion of favourable or unfavour- 
able cases within the species— at least within the limits of precision or 
vagueness presupposed in the conclusion. 

Thirdly, it is another requisite for a 'ground' that the number of in- 
stances which it includes be finite. The whole theory of the ratios of car- 
dinal numbers, on which [308] statistical probability depends, breaks down 
when the cardinal numbers are infinite. 

Fourthly, the method of 'sampling' professes to evade two objections. 
One of them is the breakdown, mentioned above, when the number of 
cases in the ground' is infinite. The other objection, thus evaded, is that 
in practice the case in question is novel and does not belong to the 
'ground' which is in fact examined. According to this second objection, 
unless there is some further evidence, the statistical state of the 'ground' 
is bogus evidence as to the probability of the case in question. To sum 
up: The method of sampling professes to overcome! (i) the difficulty 
arising from the infinity of the ground; and (ii) that arising from the 
novelty of the case in question, whereby it does not belong to the ground 
examined. In the discussion it must be remembered that we are con- 
sidering that ultimate ground which must not require any appeal to prob- 
ability beyond itself. Thus the statistical facts as to the ground! must be 
'given' and not merely 'probable.' 

(i) When we have ant infinite 'ground/ containing an infinite number 
of favourable cases and an infinite number of unfavourable cases, 'random' 
sampling can give no help towards the establishment of statistical proba- 

The Propositions 203 

bility; for one reason because no such notion of ratios can apply to these 
infinities; and for another reason, no sample is 'random'; it has only fol- 
lowed a complex method. A finite number of samples each following some 
method of its own, however complex each method may be, will give a 
statistical result entirely dependent upon those methods. In so far as 
repetitions of so-called random samplings give concordant results, the only 
conclusion to be drawn is that there is a relevant, though concealed, anal- 
ogy between the 'random' methods. Thus a finite 'ground' is essential for 
statistical probability. It must be understood that this argument implies 
no criticism on a properly interpreted method of sampling applied to a 
finite 'ground/ 

[309] (ii) When the 'case' in question does not belong to the ground 
examined, theret can, apart from further information, be no rational in- 
ference from the 'ground' to the novel case. If probability be in truth 
purely statistical, and if there be no additional information, there can be 
no escape from this conclusion. But we certainly do unhesitatingly argue 
from a 'ground'' which does not include the case in question, to a probable 
conclusion concerning the case in question. Thus either such an inference 
is irrational, futile, useless; or, when there is justification, there is additional 
information. This is the famous dilemma which perplexes the theories of 
induction t and of probability. 


It is evident that the ultimate 'ground' to which all probable judgments 
must refer can be nothing else than the actual world as objectified in judg- 
ing subjects. A judging subject is always passing a judgment upon its own 
data. Thus, if the statistical theory is to hold, the relations between the 
judging subject and its data must be such as to evade the difficulties which 
beset that theory. 

Every actual entity is in its nature essentially social; and this in two 
ways. First, the outlines of its own character are determined by the data 
which its environment provides for its process of feeling. Secondly, these 
data are not extrinsic to the entity; they constitute that display of the 
universe which is inherent in the entity. Thus the data upon which the 
subject passes judgment are themselves components conditioning the 
character of the judging subject. It follows that any general presupposi- 
tion as to the character of the experiencing subject also implies a general 
presupposition as to the social environment providing the display for that 
subject. In other words, a species of subject requires a species of data as 
its preliminary phase of concrescence. But such data are nothing but the 
social environment under the [310] abstraction effected by objectification. 
Also the character of the abstraction itself depends on the environment. 
The species of data requisite for the presumed judging subject presupposes 
an environment of a certain social character. 

204 Discussions and Applications 

Thus, according to the philosophy of organism, inductive reasoning 
gains its validity by reason of a suppressed premise. This tacit presuppo- 
sition is that the particular future which is the logical subject of the 
judgment, inductively justified, shall include actualities which have close 
analogy to some contemporary subject enjoying assigned experience; for 
example, an analogy to the judging subject in question, or to some sort 
of actuality presupposed as in the actual world which is the logical subject 
of the inductive judgment. It is also presumed that this future is derived 
from the present by a continuity of inheritance in which this condition 
is maintained. There is thus the presupposition of the maintenance of the 
general social environment— -eft/ier by reference to judging subjects, or 
by more direct reference to the preservation of the general type of material 
world requisite for the presupposed character of one or more of the logical 
subjects of the proposition. 

In this connection, I can only repeat, as a final summary, a paragraph 
from my Science and the Modern World (Ch. Ill): 
You will observe that I do not hold induction to be in its essence the 
divinationt of general laws. It is the derivation of some characteristics 
of a particular future from the known characteristics of a particular 
past. The wider assumption of general laws holding for all cognizable 
occasions appears a very unsafe addendum to attach to this limited 
knowledge. All we can ask of the present occasion is that it shall 
determine a particular community of occasions, which are in some 
respects mutually qualified by reason of their inclusion within that 
same community. 
It is evident that, in this discussion of induction, the philosophy of or- 
ganism [311] appears as an enlargement of the premise in ethical discus- 
sions: that man is a social animal. Analogously, every actual occasion is 
social, so that when we have presumed the existence of any persistent type 
of actual occasions, we have thereby made presumptions as to types of 
societies comprised in its environment. Another way of stating this ex- 
planation of the validity of induction is, that in every forecast there is a 
presupposition of a certain type of actual entities, and that the question 
then asked is, Under what circumstances will these entities find them- 
selves? The reason that an answer can be given is that the presupposed 
type of entities requires a presupposed type of data for the primary phases 
of these actual entities; and that a presupposed type of data requires a 
presupposed type of social environment. But the laws of nature are the 
outcome of the social environment. Hence when we have presupposed a 
type of actual occasions, we have already some information as to the laws 
of nature in operation throughout the environment. 

In every inductive judgment, there is therefore contained a presupposi- 
tion of the maintenance of the general order of the immediate environ- 
ment, so far as concerns actual entities within the scope of the induction. 
The inductive judgment has regard to the statistical probabilities inherent 
in this given order. The anticipations are devoid of meaning apart from 

The Propositions 205 

the definite cosmic order which they presuppose. Also survival requires 
order, and to presuppose survival, apart from the type of order which that 
type of survival requires, is a contradiction. It is at this point that the 
organic philosophy differs from any form of Cartesian 'substance-philoso- 
phy/ For if a substance requires nothing but itself in order to exist, its 
survival can tell no tale as to the survival of order in its environment. Thus 
no conclusion can be drawn respecting the external relationships of the 
surviving substance to its future environment. For [312] the organic phi- 
losophy, anticipations as to the future of a piece of rock presuppose an 
environment with the type of order which that piece of rock requires. 
Thus the completely unknown environment never enters into an inductive 
judgment. The induction is about the statistical probabilities of this en- 
vironment, or about the graded relevance to it of eternal objects. 

Thus the appeal to the mere unknown is automatically ruled out. The 
question, as to what will happen to an unspecified entity in an unspecified 
environment, has no answer. Induction always cocerns societies of actual 
entities which are important for the stability of the immediate en- 


In the preceding section there has been a covert appeal to probability. 
It is the purpose of this section to explain how the probability, thus in- 
voked, can be explained according to the statistical theory. First, we have 
to note exactly where this appeal to probability enters into the notion of 
induction. An inductive argument always includes a hypothesis, namely, 
that the environment which is the subject-matter considered contains a 
society of actual occasions analogous to a society in the present. But 
analogous societies require analogous data for their several occasions; and 
analogous data can be provided only by the objectifications provided by 
analogous environments. But the laws of nature are derived from the 
characters of the societies dominating the environment. Thus the laws of 
nature dominating the environment in question have some analogy to 
the laws of nature dominating the immediate environment. 

Now the notions of 'analogy' and of 'dominance 7 both leave a margin 
of uncertainty. We can ask, How far analogous? and How far dominant? 
If there were exact analogy, and complete dominance, there would be a 
mixture of certainty as to general conditions and of complete ignorance 
as to specific details. But such a descrip- [313] tion does not apply either 
to our knowledge of the immediate present, or of the past, or to our in- 
ductive knowledge of the future. Our conscious experience involves a 
baffling mixture of certainty, ignorance, and probability. 

Now it is evident that the theory of cosmic epochs, due to the domi- 
nance of societies of actual occasions, provides the basis for a statistical 
explanation of probability. In any one epoch there are a definite set of 

206 Discussions and Applications 

dominant societies in certain ordered interconnections. There is also an 
admixture of chaotic occasions which cannot be classified as belonging to 
any society. But, having regard to the enornious extension of any cosmic 
epoch, we are practically dealing with infinities, so that some method of 
sampling is required, rooted in the nature of the case and not arbitrarily 

This natural method of sampling is provided by the data which form 
the primary phase of any one actual occasion. Each actual occasion ob- 
jectifies the other actual occasions in its environment. This environment 
can be limited to the relevant portion of the cosmic epoch. It is a finite 
region of the extensive continuum, so far as adequate importance is con- 
cerned in respect to individual differences among actual occasions. Also, 
in respect to the importance of individual differences, we may assume 
that there is a lower limit to the extension of each relevant occasion within 
this region. With these two presumptions, it follows that the relevant 
objectifications, forming the relevant data for any one occasion, refer to 
a finite sample of actual occasions in the environment. Accordingly our 
knowledge of the external world, and of the conditions upon which its 
laws depend, t is, through and through, of that numerical character which 
a statistical theory of probability requires. Such a theory does not require 
that exact statistical calculations bet made. All that is meant by such a 
theory is that our probability judgments are ultimately derivable from 
vague estimates of 'more or less' in a numerical sense. [314] We have an 
unprecise intuition of the statistical basis of the sort of way in which 
things happen. 

Note. — By far the best discussion of the philosophical theory of probability 
is to be found in Mr. }. Maynard Keynes' book, A Treatise on Probability. This 
treatise must long remain the standard work on the subject. My conclusions in 
this chapter do not seem to me to differ fundamentally from those of Mr. 
Keynes as set out towards the conclusion of his Chapter XXI. But Mr. Keynes 
here seems to revert to a view of probability very analogous to that form of the 
'frequency theory' which, as suggested by me,f he criticized acutely (and rightly, 
so far as concerned that special form) in his Chapter VIII. 


So far the argument of the three! preceding sections has been devoted 
to the explanation of the statistical ground for a probability judgment. But 
the same discussion also discloses an alternative non-statistical ground for 
such a judgment. 

The main line of thought has been (i) that each actual occasion has at 
the base of its own constitution the environment from which it springs; 
(ii) that in this function of the environment abstraction has been made 
from its indefinite multiplicity of forms of definiteness, so as to obtain a 
concordant experience of the elements retained; (in) that any actual oc- 
casion belonging to an assigned species requires an environment adapted 

The Propositions 207 

to that species, so that the presupposition of a species involves a pre- 
supposition concerning the environment; (iv) that in every inductive judg- 
ment, and in every judgment of probability, there is a presupposition, im- 
plicit or explicit, of one, or more, species of actual occasions implicated in 
the situation considered, so that, by (iii),t there is a presupposition of 
some general type of environment. 

Thus the basis of all probability and induction is the fact of analogy 
between an environment presupposed and an environment directly ex- 

The argument, as to the statistical basis of probability, then recurred to 
the doctrine of social order. According to this doctrine, all social order 
depends on the statistical dominance in the environment of occasions be- 
longing [315] to the requisite societies. The laws of nature are statistical 
laws derived from this fact. Thus the judgment of probability can be 
derived from an intuition— in general vague and imprecise— as to the sta- 
tistical basis of the presupposed environment. This judgment can be de- 
rived from the analogy with the experienced environment. There will be 
such factors in experience adequate to justify a judgment of the inductive 

But there is another factor from which, in combination with the four 
premises, a non-statistical judgment of probability can be derived. The 
principle of the graduated 'intensive relevance' of eternal objects to the 
primary physical data of experience expresses a real fact as to the pref- 
erential adaptation of selected eternal objects to novel occasions originat- 
ing from an assigned environment. 

This principle expresses the prehension by every creature of the grad- 
uated order of appetitions constituting the primordial nature of God. 
There can thus be an intuition of an intrinsic suitability of some definite 
outcome from a presupposed situation. There will be nothing statistical in 
this suitability. It depends upon the fundamental graduation of appeti- 
tions which lies at the base of things, and which solves all indeterminations 
of transition. 

In this way, there can be an intuition of probability respecting the origi- 
nation of some novelty. It is evident that the statistical theory entirely 
fails to provide any basis for such judgments. 

It must not be thought that these non-statistical judgments are in any 
sense religious. They lie at a far lower level of experience than do the 
religious emotions. The secularization of the concept of God's functions 
in the world is at least as urgent a requisite of thought as is the seculariza- 
tion of other elements in experience. The concept of God is certainly one 
essential element in religious feeling. But the converse is not true; the 
concept of religious feeling is not an essential element in the con- [316] cept 
of God's function in the universe. In this respect religious literature has 
been sadly misleading to philosophic theory, partly by attraction and partly 
by repulsion. 



[317] That all things flow' is the first vague generalization which the 
unsystematized, barely analysed, intuition of men has produced. It is the 
theme of some of the best Hebrew poetry in the Psalms; it appears as one 
of the first generalizations of Greek philosophy in the form of the saying 
of Heraclitus; amid the later barbarism of Anglo-Saxon thought it reappears 
in the story of the sparrow flitting through the banqueting? hall of the 
Northumbrian king; and in all stages of civilization its recollection lends 
its pathos to poetry. Without doubt, if we are to go back to that ultimate, 
integral experience, unwarped by the sophistications of theory, that ex- 
perience whose elucidation is the final aim of philosophy, the flux of things 
is one ultimate generalization around which we must weave our philo- 
sophical system. 

At this point we have transformed the phrase, 'all things flow/ into the 
alternative phrase, 'the flux of things.' In so doing, the notion of the 'flux' 
has been held up before our thoughts as one primary notion for further 
analysis. But in the sentence 'all things flow,' there are three words— and 
we have started by isolating the last word of the three. We move back- 
ward to the next word 'things' and ask. What sort of things flow? Finally 
we reach the first word 'all' and ask, What is the meaning of the 'many' 
things engaged in this common flux, and in what sense, if any, can the 
word 'all' refer to a definitely indicated set of these many things? 

The elucidation of meaning involved in the phrase 'all things flow't is 
one chief task of metaphysics. 

[318] But there is a rival notion, antithetical to the former. I cannot 
at the moment recall one immortal phrase which expresses it with the 
same completeness as that with which! the alternative notion has been 
rendered by Heraclitus. This other notion dwells on permanences of 
things— the solid earth, the mountains, the stones, the Egyptian Pyramids, 
the spirit of man, God, 

The best rendering of integral experience, expressing its general form 
divested of irrelevant details, is often to be found in the utterances of 
religious aspiration. One of the reasons of the thinness of so much modern 
metaphysics is its neglect of this wealth of expression of ultimate feeling. 


Process 209 

Accordingly we find in the first two lines of a famous hymn a full ex- 
pression of the union of the two notions in one integral experience: 

Abide with me; 

Fast falls the eventide. 

Here the first line expresses the permanences, 'abide/ 'me' and the 'Being' 
addressed; and the second line sets these permanences amid the inescapable 
flux. Here at length we find formulated the complete problem of meta- 
physics. Those philosophers who start with the first line have given us the 
metaphysics of 'substance 7 ; and those who start with the second line have 
developed the metaphysics of 'flux/ But, in truth, the two lines cannot be 
torn apart in this way; and we find that a wavering balance between the 
two is a characteristic of the greater number of philosophers. Plato found 
his permanences in a static, spiritual heaven, and his flux in the entangle- 
ment of his forms amid the fluent imperfections of the physical world. 
Here I draw attention to the word 'imperfection/ In any assertion as to 
Plato I speak under correction; but I believe that Plato's authority can be 
claimed for the doctrine that the things that flow are imperfect in the 
sense of 'limited' and of 'definitely exclusive of much that they might be 
and are not/ The lines quoted from the hymn are an almost perfect 
expres- [3 J 9] sion of the direct intuition from which the main position of 
the Platonic philosophy is derived. Aristotle corrected his Platonism into 
a somewhat different! balance. He was the apostle of 'substance and at- 
tribute/ and of the classifies tory logic which this notion suggests. But, on 
the other side, he makes a masterly analysis of the notion of 'generation/ 
Aristotle in his own person expressed a useful protest against the Platonic 
tendency to separate a static spiritual world from a fluent world of super- 
ficial experience. The later Platonic schools stressed this tendency: just as 
the mediaeval Aristotelian thought allowed the static notions of Aristotle's 
logic to formulate some of the main metaphysical problems in terms which 
have lasted till today. 

On the whole, the history of philosophy supports Bergson's charge that 
the human intellect 'spatializes the universe'; that is to say, that it tends 
to ignore the fluency, and to analyse the world in terms of static categories. 
Indeed Bergson went further and conceived this tendency as an inherent 
necessity of the intellect. I do not believe this accusation; but I do hold 
that 'spatialization' is the shortest route to a clear-cut philosophy expressed 
in reasonably familiar language. Descartes gave an almost perfect example 
of such a system of thought. The difficulties of Cartesianism with its 
three clear-cut substances, and with its 'duration' and 'measured time' 
well in the background, illustrate the result of the subordination of fluency. 
This subordination is to be found in the unanalysed longing of the hymn, 
in Plato's vision of heavenly perfection, in Aristotle's logical concepts, 
and in Descartes' mathematical mentality. Newton, that Napoleon of the 
world of thought, brusquely ordered fluency back into the world, regi- 

210 Discussions and Applications 

merited into his 'absolute mathematical time, flowing equably without 
regard to anything external/ He also gave it a mathematical uniform in 
the shape of his Theory of Fluxions. 

At this point the group of seventeenth- and eighteenth- [320] century 
philosophers practically made a discovery, which, although it lies on the 
surface of their writings, they only half-realized. The discovery is that 
there are two kinds of fluency. One kind is the concrescence\ which, in 
Locke's language, is 'the real internal constitution of a particular existent/ 
The other kind is the transition from particular existent to particular 
existent. This transition, again in Locke's language, is the 'perpetually 
perishing' which is one aspect of the notion of time; and in another aspect 
the transition is the origination of the present in conformity with the 
'power' of the past. 

The phrase 'the real internal constitution of a particular existent/ the 
description of the human understanding as a process of reflection upon 
data, the phrase 'perpetually perishing/ and the word 'power' together 
with its elucidation are all to be found in Locke's Essay. Yet owing to the 
limited scope of his investigation Locke did not generalize or put his 
scattered ideas together. This implicit notion of the two kinds of flux finds 
further unconscious illustration in Hume, It is all but explicit in Kant, 
though— as I think— misdescribed. Finally, it is lost in the evolutionary 
monism of Hegel and of his derivative schools. With all his inconsistencies, 
Locke is the philosopher to whom it is most useful to recur, when we de- 
sire to make explicit the discovery of the two kinds of fluency, required for 
the description of the fluent world. One kind is the fluency inherent in the 
constitution of the particular existent. This kind I have called 'concres- 
cence.' The other kind is the fluency whereby the perishing of the process, 
on the completion of the particular existent, constitutes that existent as 
an original element in the constitutions of other particular existents 
elicited by repetitions of process. This kind I have called 'transition/ Con- 
crescence moves towards its final cause, which is its subjective aim; transi- 
tion is the vehicle of the efficient cause, which is the immortal past. 

The discussion of how the actual particular occasions become original 
elements for a new creation is termed [32 1] the theory of objectifi cation. 
The objectified particular occasions together have the unity of a datum for 
the creative concrescence. But in acquiring this measure of connection, 
their inherent presuppositions of each other eliminate certain elements 
in their constitutions, and elicit into relevance other elements. Thus ob- 
jectification is an operation of mutually adjusted abstraction, or elimina- 
tion, whereby the many occasions of the actual world become one complex 
datum. This fact of the elimination by reason of synthesis is sometimes 
termed the perspective of the actual world from the standpoint of 
that concrescence. Each actual occasion defines its own actual world 
from which it originates. No two occasions can have identical actual 

Process 211 


'Concrescence' is the name for the process in which the universe of 
many things acquires an individual unity in a determinate relegation of 
each item of the 'many' to its subordination in the constitution of the 
novel 'one/ 

The most general term 'thing'— or, equivalently, 'entity'— means nothing 
else than to be one of the 'many' which find their niches in each instance 
of concrescence. Each instance of concrescence is itself the novel indi- 
vidual 'thing' in question. There are not 'the concrescence' and 'the! novel 
thing': when we analyse the novel thing we find nothing but the concres- 
cence. 'Actuality' means nothing else than this ultimate entry into the 
concrete, in abstraction from which there is mere nonentity. In other 
words, abstraction from the notion of 'entry into the concrete' is a self- 
contradictory notion, since it asks us to conceive a thing as not a thing. 

An instance of concrescence is termed an 'actual entity'— or, equiva- 
lently, an 'actual occasion.' There is not one completed set of things which 
are actual occasions. For the fundamental inescapable fact is the creativity 
[322] in virtue of which there can be no 'many things' which are not sub- 
ordinated in a concrete unity. Thus a set of all actual occasions is by the 
nature of things a standpoint for another concrescence which elicits a con- 
crete unity from those many actual occasions. Thus we can never survey 
the actual world except from the standpoint of an immediate concrescence 
which is falsifying the presupposed completion. The creativity in virtue of 
which any relative** complete actual world is, by the nature of things, the 
datum for a new concrescencet is termed 'transition.' Thus, by reason of 
transition, 'the actual world' is always a relative term, and refers to that 
basis of presupposed actual occasions which is a datum for the novel 

An actual occasion is analysable. The analysis discloses operations trans- 
forming entities which are individually alien t into components of a com- 
plex which is concretely one. The term 'feeling' will be used as the generic 
description of such operations. We thus say that an actual occasion is a 
concrescence effected by a process of feelings. 

A feeling can be considered in respect to (i) the actual occasions felt, 
(ii) the eternal objects felt, (hi) the feelings felt, and (iv) its own sub- 
jective forms of intensity. In the process of concrescence the diverse feel- 
ings pass on to wider generalities of integral feeling. 

Such a wider generality is a feeling of a complex of feelings, including 
their specific elements of identity and contrast. This process of the integra- 
tion of feeling proceeds until the concrete unity of feeling is obtained. In 
this concrete unity all indetermination as to the realization of possibilities 
has been eliminated. The many entities of the universe, including those 
originating in the concrescence itself, find their respective roles in this 

212 Discussions and Applications 

final unity. This final unity is termed the 'satisfaction.' The 'satisfaction' 
is the culmination of the concrescence into a completely determinate 
matter of fact. In any of its antecedent stages the concrescence exhibits 
sheer inde- [323] termination as to the nexus between its many components. 


An actual occasion is nothing but the unity to be ascribed to a particular 
instance of concrescence. This concrescence is thus nothing else than the 
'real internal constitution' of the actual occasion in question. The analysis 
of the formal constitution of an actual entity has given three stages in the 
process of feeling: (i) the responsive phase, (ii) the supplemental stage, 
and (hi) the satisfaction. 

The satisfaction is merely the culmination marking the evaporation of 
all indetermination; so that, in respect to all modes of feeling and to all 
entities in the universe, the satisfied actual entity embodies a determinate 
attitude of 'yes' or 'no/ Thus the satisfaction is the attainment of the 
private ideal which is the final cause of the concrescence. But the process 
itself lies in the two former phases. The first phase is the phase of pure 
reception of the actual world in its guise of objective datum for aesthetic 
synthesis. In this phase there is the mere reception of the actual world as 
a multiplicity of private centres of feeling, implicated in a nexus of mutual 
presupposition. The feelings are felt as belonging to the external centres, 
and are not absorbed into the private immediacy. The second stage is 
governed by the private ideal, gradually shaped in the process itself; 
whereby the many feelings, derivatively felt as alien, are transformed into 
a unity of aesthetic appreciation immediately felt as private. This is the 
incoming of 'appetition/ which in its higher exemplifications we term 
'vision.' In the language of physical science, the 'scalar' form overwhelms 
the original 'vector' form: the origins become subordinate to the individual 
experience. The vector form is not lost, but is submerged as the founda- 
tion of the scalar superstructure. 

In this second stage the feelings assume an emotional [324] character 
by reason of this influx of conceptual feelings. But the reason why the 
origins are not lost in the private emotion is that there is no element in 
the universe capable of pure privacy. If we could obtain a complete analy- 
sis of meaning, the notion of pure privacy would be seen to be self- 
contradictory. Emotional feeling is still subject to the third metaphysical 
principle,** that to be 'something' is 'to have the potentiality for acquiring 
real unity with other entities.' Hence, 'to be a real component of an actual 
entity' is in some way 'to realize this potentiality.' Thus 'emotion' is 'emo- 
tional feeling ; and Vhat is felt' is the presupposed vector situation. In 
physical science this principle takes the form which should never be lost 
sight of in fundamental speculation, that scalar quantities are constructs 
derivative from vector quantities. In more familiar language, this prin- 

Process 213 

ciple can be expressed by the statement that the notion of 'passing on' is 
more fundamental than that of a private individual fact. In the abstract 
language here adopted for metaphysical statement, 'passing on 7 becomes 
'creativity/ in the dictionary sense of the verb create, 'to bring forth, beget, 
produce/ Thus, according to the third principle, no entity can be divorced 
from the notion of creativity. An entity is at least a particular form 
capable of infusing its own particularity into creativity. An actual entity, 
or a phase of an actual entity, is more than that; but, at least, it is that. 

Locke's 'particular ideas' are merely the antecedent actual entities exer- 
cising their function of infusing with their own particularity the 'passing 
on/t which is the primary phase of the 'real internal constitution' of the 
actual entity in question. In obedience to a prevalent misconception, 
'Locke termed this latter entity the 'mind'; and discussed its 'furniture/ 
when he should have discussed 'mental operations' in their capacity of 
later phases in the constitutions of actual entities. Locke himself flittingly 
expresses this fundamental vector function of his 'ideas/ In a paragraph, 
forming a portion of a quotation already [325] made, he writes: "I confess 
power includes in it some kind of relation,— a relation to action or change; 
as, indeed, which of our ideas, of what kind soever, when attentively con- 
sidered, does not?" x 


The second phase, that of supplementation, divides itself into two 
subordinate phases. Both of these phases may be trivial; also they are not 
truly separable, since they interfere with each other by intensification or 
inhibition. If both phases are trivial, the whole second phase is merely the 
definite negation of individual origination; and the process passes passively 
to its satisfaction. The actual entity is then the mere vehicle for the trans- 
ference of inherited constitutions of feeling. Its private immediacy passes 
out of the picture. Of these two sub-phases, the former— so far as there is 
an order— is that of aesthetic supplement, and the latter is that of intel- 
lectual supplement. 

In the aesthetic supplement there is an emotional appreciation of the 
contrasts and rhythms inherent in the unification of the objective content 
in the concrescence of one actual occasion. In this phase perception is 
heightened by its assumption of pain and pleasure, beauty and distaste. 
It is the phase of inhibitions and intensifications. It is the phase in which 
blue becomes more intense by reason of its contrasts, and shape acquires 
dominance by reason of its loveliness. What was received as alien, has 
been recreated as private. This is the phase of perceptivity, including 
emotional reactions to perceptivity. In this phase, private immediacy has 
welded the data into a new fact of blind feeling. Pure aesthetic supple- 

1 Essay, II, XXI, 3.t 

214 Discussions and Applications 

ment has solved its problem. This phase requires an influx of conceptual 
feelings and their integration with the pure physical feelings . 

But 'blindness' of the process, so far, retains an indetermination. There 
must be either a determinate nega- [326] tion of intellectual 'sight/ or an 
admittance of intellectual 'sight/ The negationt of intellectual sight is 
the dismissal into irrelevancet of eternal objects in their abstract status of 
pure potentials. 'What might be' has the capability of relevant contrast 
with 'what is/ If the pure potentials, in this abstract capacity, are dis- 
missed from relevance, the second sub-phase is trivial. The process then 
constitutes a blind actual occasion, 'blind' in the sense that no intellectual 
operations are involved; though conceptual operations are always involved. 
Thus there is always mentality in the form of 'vision/ but not always 
mentality in the form of conscious 'intellectuality/ 

But if some eternal objects, in their abstract capacity, are realized as 
relevant to actual fact, there is an actual occasion with intellectual opera- 
tions. The complex of such intellectual operations is sometimes termed the 
'mind' of the actual occasion; and the actual occasion is also termed 
'conscious/ But the term 'mind' conveys the suggestion of independent 
substance. This is not meant here: a better term is the 'consciousness' 
belonging to the actual occasion. 

An eternal object realized in respect to its pure potentiality as related 
to determinate logical subjects is termed a 'prepositional feeling' in the 
mentality of the actual occasion in question. The consciousness belonging 
to an actual occasion is its sub-phase of intellectual supplementation, when 
that sub-phase is not purely trivial. This sub-phase is the eliciting, into 
feeling, oft the full contrast between mere propositional potentiality and 
realized fact. 


To sum up: There are two species of process, macroscopic! process, and 
microscopic process. The macroscopic process is the transition from at- 
tained actuality to actuality in attainment; while the microscopic process 
is the conversion of conditions which are merely real into determinate 
actuality. The former process effects the [327] transition from the 'actual' 
to the 'merely real'; and the latter process effects the growth from the real 
to the actual. The former process is efficient; the latter process ist teleo- 
logical. The future is merely real, without being actual; whereas the past 
is a nexus of actualities. The actualities are constituted by their real genetic 
phases. The present is the immediacy of teleological process whereby 
reality becomes actual. The former process provides the conditions which 
really govern attainment; whereas the latter process provides the ends 
actually attained. The notion of 'organism' is combined with that of 
'process' in a twofold manner. The community of actual things is an 
organism; but it is not a static organism. It is an incompletion in process 

Process 215 

of production. Thus the expansion of the universe in respect to actual 
things is the first meaning of 'process'; and the universe in any stage of 
its expansion is the first meaning of 'organism/ In this sense, an organism 
is a nexus. 

Secondly, each actual entity is itself only describable as an organic pro- 
cess. It repeats in microcosm what the universe is in macrocosm. It is a 
process proceeding from phase to phase, each phase being the real basis 
from which its successor proceeds towards the completion of the thing 
in question. Each actual entity bears in its constitution the 'reasons' why 
its conditions are what they are. These 'reasons' are the other actual en- 
tities objectified for it. 

An 'object' is a transcendent element characterizing that definiteness 
to which our 'experience' has to conform. In this sense, the future has 
objective reality in the present, but no formal actuality. For it is inherent 
in the constitution of the immediate, present actuality that a future will 
supersede it. Also conditions to which that future must conform, includ- 
ing real relationships to the present, are really objective in the immediate 

Thus each actual entity, although complete so far as concerns its micro- 
scopic process, is yet incomplete by reason of its objective inclusion of 
the macroscopicf [328] process. It really experiences a future which must 
be actual, although the completed actualities of that future are undeter- 
mined. In this sense, each actual occasion experiences its own objective 

Note. — The function here ascribed to an 'object' is in general agreement with 
a paragraph (p. 249, 2nd! edition) in Professor Kemp Smith's Commentary on 
Kant's Critique, where he is considering Kant's 'Objective Deduction' as in the 
first edition of the Critique: "When we examine the objective, we find that the 
primary characteristic distinguishing it from the subjective is that it lays a com- 
pulsion upon our minds, constraining us to think about it in a certain way. By 
an object is meant something which will not allow us to think at haphazard." 

There is of course the vital difference, among others, that where Kemp Smith, 
expounding Kant, writes 'thinking/ the philosophy of organism substitutes 




[334] The philosophy of organism is a cell-theory of actuality. Each ul- 
timate unit of fact is a cell-complex, not analysable into components with 
equivalent completeness of actuality. 

The cell can be considered genetically and morphologically. The ge- 
netic theoryt is considered in this part; [335] the morphological theory is 
considered in Part IV, under the title of the 'extensive analysis' of an 
actual entity. 

In the genetic theory, the cell is exhibited as appropriating for the 
foundation of its own existence, the various elements of the universe out 
of which it arises. Each process of appropriation of a particular element 
is termed a prehension. The ultimate elements of the universe, thus ap- 
propriated, are the already constituted! actual entities, and the eternal 
objects. All the actual entities are positively prehended, but only a selec- 
tion of the eternal objects. In the course of the integrations of these 
various prehensions, entities of other categoreal types become relevant; 
and some new entities of these types, such as novel propositions and 
generic contrasts, come into existence. These relevant entities of these 
other types are also prehended into the constitution of the concrescent 
cell. This genetic process has now to be traced in its main outlines. 

An actual entity is a process in the course of which many operations 
with incomplete subjective unity terminate in a completed unity of opera- 
tion, termed the 'satisfaction/ The 'satisfaction' is the contentment of 
the creative urge by the fulfilment of its categoreal demands. The analysis 
of these categories is one aim of metaphysics. 

The process itself is the constitution of the actual entity; in Locke's 
phrase, it is the 'real internal constitution' of the actual entity. In the 
older phraseology employed by Descartes, the process is what the actual 
entity is in itself, Jormaliter. 7 The terms 'formal' and 'formally' are here 
used in this sense. 

The terminal unity of operation, here called the 'satisfaction/ embodies 
what the actual entity is beyond itself. In Locke's phraseology, the 'powers' 
of the actual entity are discovered in the analysis of the satisfaction. In 
Descartes' phraseology, the satisfaction is the actual entity considered as 
analysable in respect to its existence [336] 'objective,'* It is the actual 
entity as a definite, determinate, settled fact, stubborn and with unavoid- 


220 The Theory of Prehensions 

able consequences. The actual entity as described by the morphology of 
its satisfaction is the actual entity 'spatialized/ to use Bergson's term. The 
actual entity, thus spatialized, is at given individual fact actuated by its 
own 'substantial form/ Its own process, which is its own internal existence, 
has evaporated, worn out and satisfied; but its effects are all to be described 
in terms of its "satisfaction/ The 'effects' of an actual entity are its in- 
terventions in concrescent processes other than its own. Any entity, thus 
intervening in processes transcending itself, is said to be functioning as an 
'object/ According to the fourth Category of Explanation it is the one 
general metaphysical character of all entities of all sorts, that they function 
as objects. It is this metaphysical character which constitutes the solidarity 
of the universe. The peculiarity of an actual entity is that it can be con- 
sidered both 'objectively' and 'formally/ The 'objective' aspect is mor- 
phological so far as that actual entity is concerned: by this it is meant 
that the process involved is transcendent relatively to it, so that the esse 
of its satisfaction is sentiri. The 'formal' aspect is functional so far as that 
actual entity is concerned: by this it is meant that the process involved is 
immanent in it. But the objective consideration is pragmatic. It is the 
consideration of the actual entity in respect to its consequences. In the 
present chapter the emphasis is laid upon the formal consideration of an 
actual entity. But this formal consideration of one actual entity requires 
reference to the objective intervention of other actual entities. This ob- 
jective intervention of other entities constitutes the creative character 
which conditions the concrescence in question. The satisfaction of each 
actual entity is an element in the givenness of the universe: it limits bound- 
less, abstract possibility into the particular real potentiality from which 
each novel concrescence originates. The 'boundless, abstract possibility' 
means the creativity [337] considered solely in reference to the possibilities 
of the intervention of eternal objects, and in abstraction from the ob- 
jective intervention of actual entities belonging to any definite actual 
world, including God among the actualities abstracted from. 


The possibility of finite truths depends on the fact that the satisfaction 
of an actual entity is divisible into a variety of determinate operations. 
The operations are 'prehensions/ But the negative prehensions which con- 
sist of exclusions from contribution to the concrescence can be treated 
in their subordination to the positive prehensions. These positive prehen- 
sions are termed 'feelings/ The process of concrescence is divisible into 
an initial stage of many feelings, and a succession of subsequent phases 
of more complex feelings integrating the earlier simpler feelings, up to 
the satisfaction which is one complex unity of feeling. This is the genetic' 
analysis of the satisfaction. Its 'coordinate' analysis will be given later, 
in Part IV. 

The Theory of Feelings 221 

Thus a component feeling in the satisfaction is to be assigned, for its 
origination, to an earlier phase of the concrescence. 

This is the general description of the divisible character of the satis- 
faction, from the genetic standpoint. The extensiveness which underlies 
the spatio-temporal relations of the universe is another outcome of this 
divisible character. Also the abstraction from its own full formal consti- 
tution involved in objectifications of one actual entity in the constitu- 
tions of other actual entities equally depends upon this same divisible 
character, whereby the actual entity is conveyed in the particularity of 
some one of its feelings. A feeling— i.e., a positive prehension — is essen- 
tially a transition effecting a concrescence. Its complex constitution is 
analysable into five factors which express what that transition consists of, 
and effects. The factors are: (i) the 'subject' which feels, (ii) the 'initial 
[338] data' which are to be felt, (iii) the 'elimination' in virtue of nega- 
tive prehensions, (iv) the 'objective datum 7 which is felt, (v) the 'sub- 
jective form* which is how that subject feels that objective datum. 

A feeling is in all respects determinate, with a determinate subject, 
determinate initial data, determinate negative prehensions, a determinate 
objective datum, and a determinate subjective form. There is a transition 
from the initial data to the objective datum effected by the elimination. 
The initial data constitute a 'multiplicity/ or merely one 'proper' entity, 
while the objective datum is a 'nexus/ a proposition, or a 'proper' entity 
of some categoreal type. There is a concrescence of the initial data into the 
objective datum, made possible by the elimination, and effected by the 
subjective form. The objective datum is the perspective of the initial data.i 
The subjective form receives its determination from the negative prehen- 
sions, the objective datum, and the conceptual origination of the subject. 
The negative prehensions are determined by the categoreal conditions 
governing feelings, by the subjective form, and by the initial data. This 
mutual determination of the elements involved in a feeling is one expres- 
sion of the truth that the subject of the feeling is causa sui. The partial 
nature of a feeling, other than the complete satisfaction, is manifest by the 
impossibility of understanding its generation without recourse to the whole 
subject. There is a mutual sensitivity of feelings in one subject, governed by 
categoreal conditions. This mutual sensitivity expresses the notion of final 
causation in the guise of a pre-established harmony. 


A feeling cannot be abstracted from the actual entity entertaining it. 
This actual entity is termed the 'subject' of the feeling. It is in virtue of 
its subject that the feeling is one thing. If we abstract the subject from 
the feeling we are left with many things. Thus a feeling is [339] a particu- 
lar in the same sense in which each actual entity is a particular. It is one 
aspect of its own subject. 

222 The Theory of Prehensions 

The term 'subject' has been retained because in this sense it is familiar 
in philosophy. But it is misleading. The term 'superject* would be better. 
The subject-superject is the purpose of the process originating the feelings. 
The feelings are inseparable from the end at which they aim; and this end 
is the feeler. The feelings aim at the feeler, as their final cause. The feelings 
are what they are in order that their subject may be what it is. Then 
transcendently, since the subject is what it is in virtue of its feelings, it is 
only by means of its feelings that the subject objectively conditions the 
creativity transcendent beyond itself. In our own relatively high grade 
of human existence, this doctrine of feelings and their subject is best il- 
lustrated by our notion of moral responsibility. The subject is responsible 
for being what it is in virtue of its feelings. It is also derivatively respon- 
sible for the consequences of its existence because they flow from its 

If the subject-predicate form of statement be taken to be metaphysically 
ultimate, it is then impossible to express this doctrine of feelings and their 
superject. It is better to say that the feelings aim at their subject, than 
to say that they are aimed at their subject. For the latter mode of expres- 
sion removes the subject from the scope of the feeling and assigns it to 
an external agency. Thus the feeling would be wrongly abstracted from its 
own final cause. This final cause is an inherent element in the feeling, 
constituting the unity of that feeling. An actual entity feels as it does 
feel in order to be the actual entity which it is. In this way an actual en- 
tity satisfies Spinoza's notion of substance: it is causa sui. The creativity 
is not an external agency with its own ulterior purposes. All actual entities 
share with God this characteristic of self-causation. For this reason every 
actual entity also shares with God the characteristic of transcending all 
other actual entities, including God. The [340] universe is thus a creative 
advance into novelty. The alternative to this doctrine is a static morpho- 
logical universe. 


There are three main categoreal conditions which flow from the final 
nature of things. These three conditions are: (i) the Category of Subjective 
Unity, (ii) the Category of Objective Identity, and (iii) the Category of 
Objective Diversity. Later we shall isolate five** other categoreal conditions. 
But the three conditions mentioned above have an air of ultimate meta- 
physical generality. 

The first category has to do with self-realization. Self-realization is the 
ultimate fact of facts. An actuality is self-realizing, and whatever is self- 
realizing is an actuality. An actual entity is at once the subject of self- 
realization, and the superject which is self-realized. 

The second and third categories have to do with objective determina- 
tion. All entities, including even other actual entities, enter into the self- 
realization of an actuality in the capacity of determinants of the definite- 

The Theory of Feelings 223 

ness of that actuality. By reason of this objective functioning of entities 
there is truth and falsehood. For every actuality is devoid of a shadow of 
ambiguity: it is exactly what it is, by reason of its objective definition at 
the hands of other entities. In abstraction from actualization, truth and 
falsehood are meaningless: we are in the region of nonsense, a limbo where 
nothing has any claim to existence. But definition is the soul of actuality: 
the attainment of a peculiar definiteness is the final cause which animates 
a particular process; and its attainment halts its process, so that by tran- 
scendence it passes into its objective immortality as a new objective con- 
dition added to the riches of definiteness attainable, the 'real potentiality' 
of the universe. 

A distinction must here be made. Each task of creation is a social effort, 
employing the whole universe. Each novel actuality is a new partner add- 
ing a new con- [341] dition. Every new condition can be absorbed into ad- 
ditional fullness of attainment. On the other hand, each condition is ex- 
clusive, intolerant of diversities; except so far as it finds itself in a web 
of conditions which convert its exclusions into contrasts. A new actuality 
may appear in the wrong society, amid which its claims to efficacy act 
mainly as inhibitions. Then a weary task is set for creative function, by an 
epoch of new creations to remove the inhibition. Insistence on birth at 
the wrong season is the trick of evil. In other words, the novel fact may 
throw back, inhibit, and delay. But the advance, when it does arrive, will 
be richer in content, more fully conditioned, and more stable. For in its 
objective efficacy an actual entity can only inhibit by reason of its alterna- 
tive positive contribution. 

A chain of facts is like a barrier reef. On one side there is wreckage, 
and beyond it harbourage and safety. The categories governing the deter- 
mination of things are the reasons why there should be evil; and are also 
the reasons why, in the advance of the world, particular evil facts are finally 


Category I. The many feelings which belong to an incomplete phase in 
the process of an actual entity, though unintegrated by reason of the in- 
completeness of the phase, are compatible for synthesis by reason of the 
unity of their subject. 

This is the Category of 'Subjective Unity/ This category is one expression 
of the general principle that the one subject is the final end which condi- 
tions each component feeling. Thus the superject is already present as a 
condition, determining how each feeling conducts its own process. Al- 
though in any incomplete phase there are many unsynthesized feelings, 
yet each of these feelings is conditioned by the other feelings. The process 
of each feeling is such as to render that feeling integrable with the other 

[342] This Category of Subjective Unity is the reason why no feeling can 

224 The Theory of Prehensions 

be abstracted from its subject. For the subject is at work in the feeling, in 
order that it may be the subject with that feeling. The feeling is an epi- 
sode in self-production, and is referent to its aim. This aim is a certain 
definite unity with its companion feelings. 

This doctrine of the inherence of the subject in the process of its pro- 
duction requires that in the primary phase of the subjective process there 
be a conceptual feeling of subjective aim: the physical and other feelings 
originate as steps towards realizing this conceptual aim through their 
treatment of initial data. This basic conceptual feeling suffers simplifica- 
tion in the successive phases of the concrescence. It starts with conditioned 
alternatives, and by successive decisions is reduced to coherence. The doc- 
trine of responsibility is entirely concerned with this modification. In each 
phase the corresponding conceptual feeling is the 'subjective end* charac- 
teristic of that phase. The many feelings, in any incomplete phase, are 
necessarily compatible with each other by reason of their individual con- 
formity to the subjective end evolved for that phase. 

This Category of Subjective Unity is a doctrine of pre-established har- 
mony, applied to the many feelings in an incomplete phase. If we recur 
therefore to the seven kinds of 'proper' entities, and ask how to classify 
an incomplete phase, we find that it has the unity of a proposition. In ab- 
straction from the creative urge by which each such phase is merely an 
incident in a process, this phase is merely a proposition about its com- 
ponent feelings and their ultimate superject. The pre-established harmony 
is the self-consistency of this proposition, that is to say, its capacity for 
realization. But such abstraction from the process does violence to its 
nature; for the phase is an incident in the process. When we try to do 
justice to this aspect of the phase, we must say that it is a proposition 
seeking truth. It is a lure to the supervention of those integrating feel- 
ings by which the mere [343] potentiality of the proposition, with its out- 
standing indeterminations as to its setting amid the details of the universe, 
is converted intof the fully determinate actuality. 

The ground, or origin, of the concrescent process! is the multiplicity 
of data in the universe, actual entities and eternal objects and propositions 
and nexus. Each new phase in the concrescence means the retreat of mere 
propositional unity before the growing grasp of real unity of feeling. Each 
successive propositional phase is a lure to the creation of feelings which 
promote its realization. Each temporal entity, in one sense, originates from 
its mental pole, analogously to God himself. It derives from God its basic 
conceptual aim, relevant to its actual world, yet with indeterminations 
awaiting its own decisions. This subjective aim, in its successive modifi- 
cations, remains the unifying factor governing the successive phases of 
interplay between physical and conceptual feelings. These decisions are 
impossible for the nascent creature antecedently to the novelties in the 
phases of its concrescence. But this statement in its turn requires amplifi- 

The Theory of Feelings 225 

cation. With this amplification the doctrine, that the primary phase of a 
temporal actual entity is physical, is recovered. A 'physical feeling' is here 
defined to be the feeling of another actuality. If the other actuality be 
objectified by its conceptual feelings, the physical feeling of the subject 
in question is termed 'hybrid/ Thus the primary phase is a hybrid physical 
feeling of God, in respect to God's conceptual feeling which is immedi- 
ately relevant to the universe 'given' for that concrescence. There is then, 
according to the Category of Conceptual Valuation, i.e., Categoreal Obliga- 
tion IV, a derived conceptual feeling which reproduces for the subject the 
data and valuation of God's conceptual feeling. This conceptual feeling 
is the initial conceptual aim referred to in the preceding statement. In this 
sense, God can be termed the creator of each temporal actual entity. But 
the phrase is apt to be misleading by [344] its suggestion that the ultimate 
creativity of the universe is to be ascribed to God's volition. The true 
metaphysical position is that God is the aboriginal instance of this creativ- 
ity, and is therefore the aboriginal condition which qualifies its action. It 
is the function of actuality to characterize the creativity, and God is the 
eternal primordial character. But,t of course, there is no meaning to 
'creativity' apart from its 'creatures,' and no meaning to 'God' apart from 
the 'creativity' and the 'temporal creatures,' and no meaning to the 'tem- 
poral creatures' t apart from 'creativity' and 'God.' 

Category II. There can be no duplication of any element in the ob- 
jective datum of the satisfaction of an actual entity, so far as concerns the 
function of that element in that satisfaction. 

This is the 'Category of Objective Identity.' This category asserts the es- 
sential self-identity of any entity as regards its status in each individuali- 
zation of the universe. In such a concrescence one thing has one rdle, 
and cannot assume any duplicity. This is the very meaning of self-identity, 
that, in any actual confrontation of thing with thing, one thing cannot 
confront itself in alien rdles. Any one thing remains obstinately itself 
playing a part with self-consistent unity. This category is one ground of 

Category III. There can be no 'coalescence' of diverse elements in the 
objective datum of an actual entity, so far as concerns the functions of 
those elements in that satisfaction. 

This is the 'Category of Objective Diversity.' Here* the term 'coalescence' 
means the self-contradictory notion of diverse elements exercising an ab- 
solute identity of function, devoid of the contrasts inherent in their di- 
versities. In other words, in a real complex unity each particular component 
imposes its own particularity on its status. No entity can have an abstract 
status in a real unity. Its status must be such that only it can fill and only 
that actuality can supply. 

[345] The neglect of this category is a prevalent error in metaphysical 
reasoning. This category is another ground of incompatibility. 

226 The Theory of Prehensions 


The importance of these categories can only be understood by consider- 
ing each actual world in the light of a 'medium' leading up to the con- 
crescence of the actual entity in question. It will be remembered that the 
phrase actual world' has always reference to some one concrescence. 

Any actual entity, which we will name A, feels other actual entities, f 
which we will name B, C, and D. Thus B, C, and D all lie in the actual 
world of A. But C and D may lie in the actual world of B, and are then 
felt by it; also D may lie in the actual world of C and be felt by it. This 
example might be simplified, or might be changed to one of any degree of 
complication. Now B, as an initial datum for A's feeling, also presents C 
and D for A to feel through its mediation. Also C, as an initial datum for 
A ? s feeling, also presents D for A to feel through its mediation. Thus, in 
this artificially simplified example, A has D presented for feeling through 
three distinct sources: (i) directly as a crude datum, (ii) by the mediation 
of B, and (iii) by the mediation of C. This threefold presentation is D, in 
its function of an initial datum for A's feeling of it, so far as concerns the 
mediation of B and C. But, of course, the artificial simplification of the 
medium to two intermediaries is very far from any real case. The medium 
between D and A consists of all those actual entities which lie in the 
actual world of A and not in the actual world of D. For the sake of sim- 
plicity the explanation will continue in terms of this threefold presen- 

There are thus three sources of feeling, D direct, D in its nexus with 
C, and D in its nexus with B. Thus in the basic phase of A's concresence 
there arise three prehensions of the datum D. According to the first cate- 
gory [346] these prehensions are not independent. This subjective unity 
of the concrescence introduces negative prehensions, so that D in the di- 
rect feeling is not felt in its formal completeness, but objectified with the 
elimination of such of its prehensions as are inconsistent with D felt 
through the mediation of B, and through the mediation of C. Thus the 
three component feelings of the first phasef are consistent, so as to pass 
into the integration of the second phase in which there is A's one feeling 
of a coherent objectification of D. Since D is necessarily self-consistent, 
the inconsistencies must arise from the subjective forms of the prehen- 
sions of D by B directly, by C directly, and by A directly. These incon- 
sistencies lead to the eliminations in A's total prehension of D. 

In this process, the negative prehensions which effect the elimination are 
not merely negligible. The process through which a feeling passes in con- 
stituting itself! also records itself in the subjective form of the integral 
feeling. The negative prehensions have their own subjective forms which 
they contribute to the process. A feeling bears on itself the scars of its 
birth; it recollects as a subjective emotion its struggle for existence; it re- 

The Theory of Feelings 227 

tains the impress of what it might have been, but is not. It is for this 
reason that what an actual entity has avoided as a datum for feeling may 
yet be an important part of its equipment. The actual cannot be reduced 
to mere matter of fact in divorce from the potential. 

The same principle of explanation also holds in the case of a con- 
ceptual prehension, in which the datum is an eternal object. In the first 
phase of this conceptual prehension, there is this eternal object to be 
felt as a mere abstract capacity for giving definiteness to a physical feeling. 
But also there are the feelings of the objectifications of innumerable actual 
entities. Some of these physical feelings illustrate this same eternal object 
as an element providing their definiteness. There are in this way diverse 
prehensions of the same eternal object; and by the first category these 
various prehensions must be [347] consistent, so as to pass into the inte- 
gration of the subsequent phase in which there is one coherent complex 
feeling, namely, a conceptual feeling of that eternal object. This sub- 
jective insistence on consistency may, from the beginning, replace the 
positive feelings by negative prehensions. 


In the explanations of the preceding section, only the first category 
has been explicitly alluded to. It must now be pointed out how the other 
categories have been tacitly presupposed. 

The fact that there is integration at all arises from the condition ex- 
pressed by the Category of Objective Identity. The same entity, be it actual 
entity or be it eternal object, cannot be felt twice in the formal constitu- 
tion of one concrescence. The incomplete phases with their many feelings 
of one object are only to be interpreted in terms of the final satisfaction 
with its one feeling of that one object Thus objective identity requires 
integration of the many feelings of one object into the one feeling of 
that object. The analysis of an actual entity is only intellectual, or, to speak 
with a wider scope, only objective. Each actual entity is a cell with atomic 
unity. But in analysis it can only be understood as a process; it can only 
be felt as a process, that is to say, as in passage. The actual entity is divis- 
ible; but is in fact undivided. The divisibility can thus only refer to its 
objectifications in which it transcends itself. But such transcendence is 

[348] +The third category is concerned with the antithesis to oneness, 
namely, diversity. An actual entity is not merely one; it is also definitely 
complex. But, to be definitely complex is to include definite diverse ele- 
ments in definite ways. The category of objective deversity expresses the 
inexorable condition— that a complex unity must provide for each of its 
components a real diversity of status, with a reality which bears the same 
sense as its own reality and is peculiar to itself. In other words, a real unity 
cannot provide sham diversities of status for its diverse components. 

228 The Theory of Prehensions 

This category is in truth only a particular application of the second 
category. For a 'status' is after all something; and, according to the Cate- 
gory of Objective Identity, it cannot duplicate its r61e. Thus if the 'status 7 
be the status of this, it cannot in the same sense be the status of that. The 
prohibition of sham diversities of status sweeps away the 'class-theory' t of 
particular substances, which was waveringly suggested by Locke (II, 
XXIII, 1), was more emphatically endorsed by Hume (Treatise, Bk. I,t 
Part I, Sect. 6), and has been adopted by Hume's followers. For the es- 
sence of a class is that it assigns no diversity of function to the members 
of its extension. The members of a class are diverse members in virtue 
of mere logical disjunction. The 'class/ thus appealed to, is a mere mul- 
tiplicity. But in the prevalent discussion of classes, there are illegitimate 
transitions to the notions of a 'nexus' and of a 'proposition.' The appeal to 
a class to perform the services of a proper entity is exactly analogous to 
an appeal to an imaginary terrier to kill a real rat. 

+Thus the process of integration, which lies at the very heart of the 
concrescence, is the urge imposed on the concrescent unity of that uni- 
verse by the three Categories of Subjective Unity, of Objective Identity, and 
of Objective Diversity. The oneness of the universe, and the oneness of 
each element in the universe, repeat themselves to the crack of doom in 
the creative advance from creature to creature, each creature including in 
itself the whole of history and exemplifying the self-identity of things and 
their mutual diversities. 


This diversity of status, combined with the real unity of the components, 
means that the real synthesis of two component elements in the objective 
datum of a feeling [349] must be infected with the individual particulari- 
ties of each of the relata. Thus the synthesis in its completeness expresses 
the joint particularities of that pair of relata, and can relate no others. A 
complex entity with this individual definiteness, arising out of determinate- 
ness of eternal objects, will be termed a 'contrast/ A contrast cannot be 
abstracted from the contrasted relata. 

The most obvious examples of a contrast are to be found by confining 
attention purely to eternal objects. The contrast between blue and red 
cannot be repeated as that contrast between any other pair of colours, 
or any pair of sounds, or between a colour and a sound. It is just the con- 
trast between blue and red, that and nothing else. Certain abstractions from 
that contrast, certain values inherent in it, can also be got from other 
contrasts. But they are other contrasts, and not that contrast; and the 
abstractions are not 'contrasts' of the same categoreal type. 

In another sense, a 'nexus' falls under the meaning of the term 'con- 
trast'; though we shall avoid this application of the term. What are or- 
dinarily termed 'relations' are abstractions from contrasts. A relation can 

The Theory of Feelings 229 

be found in many contrasts; and when it is so found, it is said to relate 
the things contrasted. The term 'multiple contrast 7 will be used when 
there are or may be more than two elements jointly contrasted, and it is 
desired to draw attention to that fact. A multiple contrast is analysable 
into component dual contrasts. But a multiple contrast is not a mere ag- 
gregation of dual contrasts. It is one contrast, over and above its com- 
ponent contrasts. This doctrine that a multiple contrast cannot be con- 
ceived as a mere disjunction of dual contrasts is the basis of the doctrine 
of emergent evolution. It is the doctrine of real unities being more than 
a mere collective disjunction of component elements. This doctrine has 
the same ground as the objection to the class-theory of particular sub- 
stances. The doctrine is a commonplace of art. 

Bradley's discussions of relations are confused by his [350] failure to 
distinguish between relations and contrasts. A relation is a genus of con- 
trasts. He is then distressed— or would have been distressed if he had not 
been consoled by the notion of 'mereness' as in 'mere appearance'— to 
find that a relation will not do the work of a contrast. It fails to contrast. 
Thus Bradley's argument proves that relations, among other things, are 
'mere'; that is to say, are indiscretions of the absolute, apings of reality 
without self-consistency. 


One use of the term 'contrast' is to mean that particularity of conjoint 
unity which arises from the realized togetherness of eternal objects. But 
there is another, and more usual, sense of 'particularity/ This is the sense 
in which the term 'particular' is applied to an actual entity. 

One actual entity has a status among other actual entities, not expres- 
sible wholly in terms of contrasts between eternal objects. For example, 
the complex nexus of ancient imperial Rome to European history is not 
wholly expressible in universals. It is not merely the contrast of a sort of 
city, imperial, Roman, ancient, with a sort of history of a sort of con- 
tinent, sea-indented, river-diversified, with alpine divisions, begirt by larger 
continental masses and oceanic wastes, civilized, barbarized, christianized, 
commercialized, industrialized. The nexus in question does involve such 
a complex contrast of universals. But it involves more. For it is the nexus 
of that Rome with that Europe. We cannot be conscious of this nexus 
purely by the aid of conceptual feelings. This nexus is implicit, below con- 
sciousness, in our physical feelings. In part we are conscious of such 
physical feelings, and of that particularity of the nexus between particular 
actual entities. This consciousness takes the form of our consciousness of 
particular spatial and temporal relations between things directly perceived. 
But, as in the case of Rome and Europe, so far as con- \3S1] cerns the mass 
of our far-reaching knowledge, the particular nexus between the partic- 
ular actualities in question ist only indicated by constructive reference 
to the physical feelings of which we are conscious. 

230 The Theory of Prehensions 

This peculiar particularity of the nexus between actual entities can be 
put in another way. Owing to the disastrous confusion, more especially 
by Hume, of conceptual feelings with perceptual feelings, the truism 
that we can only conceive in terms of universals has been stretched to 
mean that we can only feel in terms of universals. This is untrue. Our 
perceptual feelings feel particular existents; that is to say, a physical 
feeling, belonging to the percipient, feels the nexus between two other 
actualities, A and B. It feels feelings of A which feel B, and feels feelings 
of B which feel A. It integrates these feelings, so as to unify their identity 
of elements. These identical elements form the factor defining the nexus 
between A and B, a nexus also retaining the particular diversity of A and 
B in its uniting force. 

Also the more complex multiple nexus between many actual entities in 
the actual world of a percipient is felt by that percipient. But this nexus, 
as thus felt, can be abstracted from that particular percipient. It is the 
same nexus for all percipients which include those actual entities in their 
actual worlds. The multiple nexus is how those actual entities are really 
together in all subsequent unifications of the universe, by reason of the 
objective immortality of their real mutual prehensions of each other. 

We thus arrive at the notion of the actual world of any actual entity, 
as a nexus whose objectification constitutes the complete unity of ob- 
jective datum for the physical feeling of that actual entity. This actual 
entity is the original percipient of that nexus. But any other actual entity 
which includes in its own actual world that original percipientf also in- 
cludes that previous nexus as a portion of its own actual world. Thus each 
actual world is a nexus which in this sense is independent of its original 
[352] percipient. It enjoys an objective immortality in the future beyond 

Every nexus is a component nexus, first accomplished in some later phase 
of concrescence of an actual entity, and ever afterwards having its status 
in actual worlds as an unalterable fact, dated and located among the 
actual entities connected in itself. If in a nexus there be a realized con- 
trast of universals, this contrast is located in that actual entity to which 
it belongs as first originated in one of its integrative feelings. Thus every 
realized contrast has a location, which is particular with the particularity 
of actual entities. It is a particular complex matter of fact, realized; and, 
because of its reality, a standing condition in every subsequent actual 
world from which creative advance must originate. 

It is this complete individual particularity of each actuality, and of each 
nexus, and of each realized contrast, which is the reason for the three 
Categoreal Conditions—of Subjective Unity, of Objective Identity, and of 
Objective Diversity. The word 'event* is used sometimes in the sense of a 
nexus of actual entities, and sometimes in the sense of a nexus as objecti- 
fied by universals. In either sense, it is a definite fact with a date. 

The initial data of a complex feeling, as mere data, are many; though 

The Theory of Feelings 231 

as felt they are one in the objective unity of a pattern. Thus a nexus is a 
realized pattern of the initial data: though this pattern is merely relative to 
the feeling, expressive of those factors in the many data by reason of which 
they can acquire their unity in the feeling. This is the second use of the 
term nexus, mentioned above. 

Thus, just as the 'feeling as one' cannot bear the abstraction from it of 
the subject, so the 'data as one' cannot bear the abstraction from it of 
every feeling which feels it as such. According to the ontological principle, 
the impartial nexus is an objective datum in the consequent nature of God; 
since it is somewhere and yet not by any necessity of its own nature im- 
plicated in the [353] feelings of any determined actual entity of the actual 
world. The nexus involves realization somewhere. This is the first use of 
the term nexus. 

In two extreme cases the initial data of a feeling have a unity of their 
own. In one case, the data reduce to a single actual entity, other than the 
subject of the feeling; and in the other case the data reduce to a single 
eternal object. These are called 'primary feelings/ A particular feeling 
divorced from its subject is nonsense. 

There are thus two laws respecting the feelings constituting the com- 
plex satisfaction of an actual entity: (i) An entity can only be felt once, 
and (ii) the diverse feelings, in the same subject, of the same entity as 
datum which are to be unified into one feeling, must be compatible in their 
treatment of the entity felt. In conformity with this pre-established har- 
mony, 'incompatibility' would have dictated from the beginning that some 
'feeling' be replaced by a negative prehension. 


The subjective forms of feelings are best discussed in connection with 
the different types of feelings which can arise. This classification into types 
has regard to the differences among feelings in respect to their initial data, 
their objective data, and their subjective forms. But these sources of dif- 
ference cannot wholly be kept separate. 

A feeling is the appropriation of some elements in the universe to be 
components in the real internal constitution of its subject. The elements 
are the initial data; they are what the feeling feels. But they are felt under 
an abstraction. The process of the feeling involves negative prehensions 
which effect elimination. Thus the initial data are felt under a 'perspective' 
which is the objective datum of the feeling. 

In virtue of this elimination the components of the complex objective 
datum have become 'objects' intervening in the constitution t of the sub- 
ject of the feeling. In the phraseology of mathematical physics a feeling 
has a [354] 'vector' character. A feeling is the agency by which other things 
are built into the constitution of its one subject in process of concrescence. 
Feelings are constitutive of the nexus by reason of which the universe finds 
its unification ever renewed by novel concrescence. The universe is always 

232 The Theory of Prehensions 

one, since there is no surveying it except from an actual entity which uni- 
fies it. Also the universe is always new, since the immediate actual entity is 
the superject of feelings which are essentially novelties. 

The essential novelty of a feeling attaches to its subjective form. The 
initial data, and even the nexus which is the objective datum, may have 
served other feelings with other subjects. But the subjective form is the 
immediate novelty; it is how that subject is feeling that objective datum. 
There is no tearing this subjective form from the novelty of this con- 
crescence. It is enveloped in the immediacy of its immediate present. The 
fundamental example of the notion 'quality inhering inf particular sub- 
stance' is afforded by 'subjective form inhering in feeling/ If we abstract 
the form from the feeling, we are left with an eternal object as the rem- 
nant of subjective form. 

A feeling can be genetically described in terms of its process of origina- 
tion, with its negative prehensions whereby its many initial data become 
its complex objective datum. In this process the subjective form originates, 
and carries into the feeling its own history transformed into the way in 
which the feeling feels. The way in which the feeling feels expresses how 
the feeling came into being. It expresses the purpose which urged it for- 
ward, and the obstacles which it encountered, and the indeterminations 
which were dissolved by the originative decisions of the subject. 

There are an indefinite number of types of feeling according to the 
complexity of the initial data which the feeling integrates, and according 
to the complexity of the objective datum which it finally feels. But there 
are three primary types of feeling which enter into the forma- [355] tion of 
all the more complex feelings. These types are: (i) that of simple physical 
feelings, (ii) that of conceptual feelings, and (iii) that of transmuted 
feelings. In a simple physical feeling, the initial datum is a single actual 
entity; in a conceptual feeling, the objective datum is an eternal object;! 
in a transmuted feeling, the objective datum is a nexus of actual entities. 
Simple physical feelings and transmuted feelings make up the class of 
physical feelings. 

In none of these feelings, taken in their original purity devoid of ac- 
cretions from later integrations, does the subjective form involve conscious- 
ness. Although in a propositional feeling the subjective form may involve 
judgment, this element in the subjective form is not necessarily present. 

One final remark must be added to the general description of a feeling. 
A feeling is a component in the concrescence of a novel actual entity. The 
feeling is always novel in reference to its data; since its subjective form, 
though it must always have reproductive reference to the data, is not 
wholly determined by them. The process of the concrescence is a progres- 
sive integration of feelings controlled by their subjective forms. In this 
synthesis, feelings of an earlier phase sink into the components of some 
more complex feeling of a later phase. Thus each phase adds its element 
of novelty, until the final phase in which the one complex 'satisfaction' is 

The Theory of Feelings 233 

reached. Thus the actual entity, as viewed morphologically through its 
'satisfaction/ is novel in reference to any one of its component feelings. It 
presupposes those feelings. But conversely, no feeling can be abstracted 
either from its data, or its subject. It is essentially a feeling aiming at that 
subject, and motivated by that aim. Thus the subjective form embodies 
the pragmatic aspect of the feeling; for the datum is felt with that subjec- 
tive form in order that the subject may be the superject which it is. 

In the analysis of a feeling, whatever presents itself as also ante rem is a 
datum, whatever presents itself as \}S6] exclusively in re is subjective form, 
whatever presents itself in re and post rem is 'subject-superject/ This doc- 
trine of 'feeling' is the central doctrine respecting the becoming of an 
actual entity. In a feeling the actual world, selectively appropriated, is the 
presupposed datum, not formless but with its own realized form selectively 
germane, in other words 'objectified/ The subjective form is the ingression 
of novel form peculiar to the new particular fact, and with its peculiar 
mode of fusion with the objective datum. The subjective form in abstrac- 
tion from the feeling is merely a complex eternal object. In the becoming, 
it meets the 'data' which are selected from the actual world. In other 
words, the data are already 'in being/ There the term 'in being' is for the 
moment used as equivalent to the term 'in realization/ 


**A subjective form has two factors, its qualitative pattern and its pattern 
of intensive quantity. But these two factors of pattern cannot wholly be 
considered in abstraction from each other. For the relative intensities of 
the qualitative elements in the qualitative pattern are among the relational 
factors which constitute that qualitative pattern. Also conversely, there are 
qualitative relations among the qualitative elements and they constitute an 
abstract qualitative pattern for the qualitative relations. The pattern of 
intensities is not only the variety of qualitative elements with such-and- 
such intensities; but it is also the variety of qualitative elements, as in 
such-and-such an abstract qualitative pattern, with such-and-such inten- 
sities. Thus the two patterns are not really separable. It is true that there 
is an abstract qualitative pattern, and an abstract intensive pattern; but in 
the fused pattern the abstract qualitative pattern lends itself t to the in- 
tensities, and the abstract intensive pattern lends itself to the qualities. 

Further, the subjective form cannot be absolutely dis- [357] joined from 
the pattern of the objective datum. Some elements of the subjective form 
can be thus disjoined; and they form the subjective form as in abstraction 
from the patterns of the objective datum. But the full subjective form can- 
not be abstracted from the pattern of the objective datum. The intel- 
lectual disjunction is not a real separation. Also the subjective form, amid 
its own original elements, always involves reproduction of the pattern of 
the objective datum. 

As a simple example of this description of a feeling, consider the audi- 

234 The Theory of Prehensions 

tion of sound. In order to avoid unnecessary complexity, let the sound be 
one definite note. The audition of this note is a feeling. This feeling has 
first an auditor, who is the subject of the feeling. But the auditor would not 
be the auditor that he is apart from this feeling of his. 

Secondly, there is the complex ordered environment composed of certain 
other actual entities which, however vaguely, is felt by reason of this audi- 
tion. This environment is the datum of this feeling. It is the external 
world, as grasped systematically in this feeling. In this audition it is felt 
under the objectification of vague spatial relations, and as exhibiting musi- 
cal qualities. But the analytic discrimination of this datum of the feeling 
is in part vague and conjectural, so far as consciousness is concerned: there 
is the antecedent physiological functioning of the human body, and the 
presentational immediacy of the presented locus. 

There is also an emotional sensory pattern, the subjective form, which is 
more definite and more easily analysable. The note, in its capacity of a 
private sensation, has pitch, quality, and intensity. It is analysable into its 
fundamental tone, and a selection of its overtones. This analysis reveals an 
abstract qualitative pattern which is the complex relatedness of the funda- 
mental tone-quality* with the tone-qualities of its select overtones. This 
qualitative pattern may, or may not, include relations of a spatial type, if 
some of the overtones come [358] from instruments spatially separate— f for 
example, from a spatial pattern of tuning forks. 

The fundamental tone, and its overtones, have, each of them, their own 
intensities. This pattern of intensities can be analysed into the relative 
intensities of the various tones and the absolute intensity which is the 
total loudness. The scale of relative intensities enters into the final quality 
of the note, with some independence of its absolute loudness. 

Also the spatial pattern of the tuning forks and the resonance of the mu- 
sic chamber enter into this quality. But these also concern the datum of the 
feeling. Also in this integration of feeling we must include the qualitative 
and quantitative auditory contributions derived from various nerve-routes of 
the body. In this way the animal body, as part of the external world, takes 
a particularly prominent place in the pattern of the datum of the feeling. 
Also in the subjective form we must reckon qualities of joy and distaste, of 
adversion and of aversion, which attach integrally to the audition, and also 
differentially to various elements of the audition. In an earlier phase of the 
auditor, there is audition divested of such joy and distaste. This earlier, 
bare audition does not in its own nature determine this additional qualifi- 
cation. It originates as the audition becomes an element in a higher syn- 
thesis, and yet it is an element in the final component feeling. Thus the 
audition gains complexity of subjective form by its integration with other 
feelings. Also, though we can discern three patterns, namely, the pattern of 
the datum, the pattern of emotional quality, and the pattern of emotional 
intensity, we cannot analyse either of the latter patterns in complete 
separation either from the pattern of the datum, or from each other. 

The Theory of Feelings 235 

The final concrete component in the satisfaction is the audition with its 
subject, its datum, and its emotional pattern as finally completed. It is a 
particular fact not to be torn away from any of its elements. 


[359] Prehensions are not atomic; they can be divided into other pre- 
hensions and combined into other prehensions. Also prehensions are not 
independent of each other. The relation between their subjective forms is 
constituted by the one subjective aim which guides their formation. This 
correlation of subjective forms is termed 'the mutual sensitivity' of prehen- 
sions (cf. Part I, Ch. II, Sect. HI, Categoreal Obligation VII, The Cate- 
gory of Subjective Harmony 7 ). 

The prehensions in disjunction are abstractions; each of them is its sub- 
ject viewed in that abstract objectification. The actuality is the totality of 
prehensions with subjective unity in process of concrescence into concrete 

There are an indefinite number of prehensions, overlapping, subdividing, 
and supplementary to each other. The principle, according to which a pre- 
hension can be discovered, is to take any component in the objective 
datum of the satisfaction; in the complex pattern of the subjective form 
of the satisfaction there will be a component with direct relevance to this 
element in the datum. Then in the satisfaction, there is a prehension of 
this component of the objective datum with that component of the total 
subjective form as its subjective form. 

The genetic growth of this prehension can then be traced by considering 
the transmission of the various elements of the datum from the actual 
world, and— in the case of eternal objects— their origination in the con- 
ceptual prehensions. There is then a growth of prehensions, with integra- 
tions, eliminations, and determination of subjective forms. But the deter- 
mination f of successive phases of subjective forms, whereby the integra- 
tions have the characters that they do have, depends on the unity of the 
subject imposing a mutual sensitivity upon the prehensions. Thus a pre- 
hension, considered genetically, can never free itself from the incurable 
atomicity [360] of the actual entity to which it belongs. The selection of a 
subordinate prehension from the satisfaction— as described above— involves 
a hypothetical, propositional point of view. The fact is the satisfaction as 
one. There is some arbitrariness in taking a component from the datum 
with a component from the subjective form, and in considering them, on 
the ground of congruity, as forming a subordinate prehension. The justifi- 
cation is that the genetic process can be thereby analysed. If no such 
analysis of the growth of that subordinate prehension can be given, then 
there has been a faulty analysis of the satisfaction. This relation between 
the satisfaction and the genetic process is expressed in the eighth and ninth 
categories of explanation (cf. Part I, Ch. II, Sect. II). 



[361] A 'simple physical feeling' entertained in one subject is a feeling 
for which the initial datum is another single actual entity, and the ob- 
jective datum is another feeling entertained by the latter actual entity. 

Thus in a simple physical feeling there are two actual entities con- 
cerned. One of them is the subject of that feeling, and the other is the 
initial datum of the feeling. A second feeling is also concerned, namely, 
the objective datum of the simple physical feeling. This second feeling is 
the 'objectification' of its subject for the subject of the simple physical 
feeling. The initial datum is objectified as being the subject of the feeling 
which is the objective datum: the objectification is the 'perspective' of the 
initial datum. 

A simple physical feeling is an act of causation. The actual entity which 
is the initial datum is the 'cause/ the simple physical feeling is the 'effect/ 
and the subject entertaining the simple physical feeling is the actual entity 
'conditioned' by the effect. This 'conditioned' actual entity will also be 
called the 'effect.' All complex causal action can be reduced to a complex 
of such primary components. Therefore simple physical feelings will also 
be called 'causal' feelings. 

But it is equally true to say that a simple physical feeling is the most 
primitive type of an act of perception, devoid of consciousness. The actual 
entity which is the initial datum is the actual entity perceived, the ob- 
jective datum is the 'perspective' under which that actual entity is per- 
ceived, and the subject of the simple physical feeling [362] is the perceiver. 
This is not an example of conscious perception. For the subjective form 
of a simple physical feeling does not involve consciousness, unless acquired 
in subsequent phases of integration. It seems as though in practice, for 
human beings at least, only transmuted feelings acquire consciousness, 
never simple physical feelings. Consciousness originates in the higher 
phases of integration and illuminates those phases with the greater clarity 
and distinctness. 

Thus a simple physical feeling is one feeling which feels another feeling. 
But the feeling felt has a subject diverse from the subject of the feeling 
which feels it. A multiplicity of simple physical feelings entering into the 
propositional unity of a phase constitutes the first phase in the concres- 
cence of the actual entity which is the common subject of all these feel- 

The Primary Feelings 237 

ings. The limitation, whereby the actual entities felt are severally reduced 
to the perspective of one of their own feelings, is imposed by the Gate- 
goreal Condition of Subjective Unity, requiring a harmonious compatibility 
in the feelings of each incomplete phase. Thus the negative prehensions, 
involved in the production of any one feeling, are not independent of the 
other feelings. The subjective forms of feelings depend in part on the 
negative prehensions. This primary phase of simple physical feelings con- 
stitutes the machinery by reason of which the creativity transcends the 
world already actual, and yet remains conditioned by that actual world in 
its new impersonation. 

Owing to the vagueness of our conscious analysis of complex feelings, 
perhaps we never consciously discriminate one simple physical feeling in 
isolation. But all our physical relationships arc made up of such simple 
physical feelings, as their atomic bricks. Apart from inhibitions or additions, 
weakenings or intensifications, due to the history of its production, the 
subjective form of a physical feeling is re-enaction of the subjective form 
of the feeling felt. Thus the cause passes on its feeling to be reproduced 
by the new subject as its own, and yet [363] as inseparable from the cause. 
There is a flow of feeling. But the re-enaction is not perfect. The cate- 
goreal demands of the concrescence require adjustments of the pattern of 
emotional intensities. The cause is objectively in the constitution of the 
effect, in virtue of being the feeler of the feeling reproduced in the effect 
with partial equivalence of subjective form. Also the cause's feeling has its 
own objective datum, and its own initial datum. Thus this antecedent 
initial datum has now entered into the datum of the effect's feeling at 
second-hand through the mediation of the cause. 

The reason why the cause is objectively in the effectt is that the cause's 
feeling cannot, as a feeling, be abstracted from its subject which is the 
cause. This passage of the cause into the effect is the cumulative character 
of time. The irreversibility of time depends on this character. 

Note that in the 'satisfaction' there is an integration of simple physical 
feelings. No simple physical feeling need be distinguished in consciousness. 
Physical feelings may be merged with feelings of any type, and of whatever 
complexity. A simple physical feeling has the dual character of being the 
cause's feeling re-enacted for the effect as subject. But this transference of 
feeling effects a partial identification of cause with effect, and not a mere 
representation of the cause. It is the cumulation of the universe and not a 
stage-play about it. In a simple feeling there is a double particularity in 
reference to the actual world, the particular cause and the particular ef- 
fect. In Locke's language (III, III, 6), and with his limitation of thought, 
a simple feeling is an idea in one mind 'determined to this or that particu- 
lar existent.' Locke is here expressing what only metaphysicians can doubt. 

By reason of this duplicity in a simple feeling there is a vector character 
which transfers the cause into the effect. It is a feeling from the cause 
which acquires the subjectivity of the new effect without loss of its original 

238 The Theory of Prehensions 

[364] subjectivity in the cause. Simple physical feelings embody the re- 
productive character of nature, and also the objective immortality of the 
past. In virtue of these feelings time is the conformation of the immediate 
present to the past. Such feelings are 'conformar feelings. 

The novel actual entity, which is the effect, is the reproduction of the 
many actual entities of the past. But in this reproduction there is abstrac- 
tion from their various totalities of feeling. This abstraction is required by 
the categoreal conditions for compatible synthesis in the novel unity. This 
abstractive 'objectification' is rendered possible by reason of the 'divisible' 
character of the satisfactions of actual entities. By reason of this 'divisible' 
character causation is the transfer of a feeling, and not of a total satisfac- 
tion. The other feelings are dismissed by negative prehensions, owing to 
their lack of compliance with categoreal demands. 

A simple physical feeling enjoys a characteristic which has been variously 
described as 're-enaction/ 'reproduction/ and 'conformation/ This charac- 
teristic can be more accurately explained in terms of the eternal objects 
involved. There are eternal objects determinant of the definiteness of the 
objective datum which is the 'cause/ and eternal objects determinant of 
the definiteness of the subjective form belonging to the 'effect/ When 
there is re-enaction there is one eternal object with two-way functioning, 
namely, as partial determinant of the objective datum, and as partial de- 
terminant of the subjective form. In this two-way role, the eternal object 
is functioning relationally between the initial data on the one hand and 
the concrescent subject on the other. It is playing one self-consistent role in 
obedience to the Category of Objective Identity. 

Physical science is the science investigating spatio-temporal and quan- 
titative characteristics of simple physical feelings. The actual entities of the 
actual world are bound together in a nexus of these feelings. Also in the 
creative advance, the nexus proper to an antecedent [365] actual world is 
not destroyed. It is reproduced and added to, by the new bonds of feeling 
with the novel actualities which transcend it and include it. But these 
bonds have always their vector character. Accordingly the ultimate physical 
entities for physical science are always vectors indicating transference. In 
the world there is nothing static. But there is reproduction; and hence the 
permanence which is the result of order, and the cause of it. And yet there 
is always change; for time is cumulative as well as reproductive, and the 
cumulation of the many is not their reproduction as many. 

This section on simple physical feelings lays the foundation of the treat- 
ment of cosmology in the philosophy of organism. It contains the discus- 
sion of the ultimate elements from which a more complete philosophical 
discussion of the physical world— that is to say, of nature— must be derived. 
In the first place an endeavour has been made to do justice alike to the 
aspect of the world emphasized by Descartes and to the atomism of the 
modern quantum theory. Descartes saw the natural world as an extensive 
spatial plenum, enduring through time. Modern physicists see energy 

The Primary Feelings 239 

transferred in definite quanta. This quantum theory also has analogues in 
recent neurology. Again fatigue is the expression of cumulation- it is phys- 
ical memory. Further,! causation and physical memory spring from the 
same root: both of them are physical perception. Cosmology must do 
equal justice to atomism, to continuity, to causation, to memory, to percep- 
tion, to qualitative and quantitative forms of energy, and to extension. 
But so far there has been no reference to the ultimate vibratory characters 
of organisms and to the 'potential' element in nature. 


Conceptual feelings and simple causal feelings constitute the two main 
species of 'primary' feelings. All other feelings of whatever complexity 
arise out of a process of integration which starts with a phase of these 
[366] primary feelings. There is, however, a difference between the species. 
An actual entity in the actual world of a subject must enter into the con- 
crescence of that subject by some simple causal feeling, however vague, 
trivial, and submerged. Negative prehensions may eliminate its distinctive 
importance. But in some way, by some trace of causal feeling, the remote 
actual entity is prehended positively. In the case of an eternal object, 
there is no such necessity. In any given concrescence, it may be included 
positively by means of a conceptual feeling; but it may be excluded by a 
negative prehension. The actualities have to be felt, while the pure po- 
tentials can be dismissed. So far as concerns their functionings as objects, 
this is the great distinction between an actual entity and an eternal object. 
The one is stubborn matter of fact; and the other never loses its 'accent 7 of 

In each concrescence there is a twofold aspect of the creative urge. In 
one aspect there is the origination of simple causal feelings; and in the 
other aspect there is the origination of conceptual feelings. These con- 
trasted aspects will be called the physical and the mental poles of an ac- 
tual entity. No actual entity is devoid of either pole; though their relative 
importance differs in different actual entities. Also conceptual feelings do 
not necessarily involve consciousness; though there can be no conscious 
feelings which do not involve conceptual feelings as elements in the 

Thus an actual entity is essentially dipolar, with its physical and mental 
poles; and even the physical world cannot be properly understood without 
reference to its other side, which is the complex of mental operations. The 
primary mental operations are conceptual feelings. 

A conceptual feeling is feeling an eternal object in the primary meta- 
physical character of being an 'object/ that is to say, feeling its capacity 
for being a realized determinant of process. Immanence and transcendence 
are the characteristics of an object: as a realized determinant it [367] is 
immanent; as a capacity for determination it is transcendent; in both roles 

240 The Theory of Prehensions 

it is relevant to something not itself. There is no character belonging to 
the actual apart from its exclusive determination by selected eternal ob- 
jects. The definiteness of the actual arises from the exclusiveness of eternal 
objects in their function as determinants. If the actual entity be this, then 
by the nature of the case it is not that or that. The fact of incompatible 
alternatives is the ultimate fact in virtue of which there is definite charac- 
ter. A conceptual feeling is the feeling of an eternal object in respect to its 
general capacity as a determinant of character, including thereby its ca- 
pacity of exclusiveness. In the technical phraseology of these lectures, a 
conceptual feeling is a feeling whose 'datum' is an eternal object. Anal- 
ogously a negative prehension is termed 'conceptual'! when its datum is 
an eternal object. In a conceptual feeling there is no necessary progress 
from the 'initial data' to the 'objective datum/ The two may be identical, 
except in so far as conceptual feelings with diverse sources of origination 
acquire integration. 

Conceptual prehensions, positive or negative, constitute the primary 
operations among those belonging to the mental pole of an, actual entity. 


The subjective form of a conceptual feeling has the character of a Val- 
uation/ and this notion must now be explained. 

A conceptual feeling arises in some incomplete phase of its subject and 
passes into a supervening phase in which it has found integration with 
other feelings. In this supervening phase, the eternal object, which is the 
datum of the conceptual feeling, is an ingredient in some sort of datum in 
which the other components are the objective data of other feelings in the 
earlier phase. This new datum is the integrated datum; it will be some sort 
of 'contrast/ By the first categoreal condition the feelings [368] of the 
earlier phase are compatible for integration. Thus the supervention of the 
later phase does not involve elimination by negative prehensions; such 
eliminations of positive prehensions in the concrescent subject would 
divide that subject into many subjects, and would divide these many sub- 
jects from the superject. But, though there can be no elimination from the 
supervening phase as a whole, there may be elimination from some new 
integral feeling which is merely one component of that phase. 

But in the formation of this integrated datum there must be determina- 
tion of exactly how this eternal object has ingress into that datum con- 
jointly with the remaining eternal objects and actual entities derived from 
the other feelings. This determination is effected by the subjective forms 
of the component conceptual feelings. Again it is to be remembered that, 
by the first categoreal condition, this subjective form is not independent of 
the other feelings in the earlier phase, and thus is such as to effect this 
determination. Also the integral feeling has its subjective form with its 
pattern of intensiveness. This patterned intensiveness regulates the dis- 

The Primary Feelings 241 

tinctive lelative importance of each element of the datum as felt in that 
feeling. This intensive regulation of that eternal object f as felt in the in- 
tegrated datum, is determined by the subjective form of the conceptual 
feeling. Yet again, by reference to the first, and seventh, categoreal condi- 
tions, this intensive form of the conceptual feeling has dependence also in 
this respect on the other feelings of the earlier phase. Thus, according as 
the valuation of the conceptual feeling is a Valuation up' or a Valuation 
down/ the importance of the eternal object as felt in the integrated feel- 
ing is enhanced, or attenuated. Thus the valuation is both qualitative, de- 
termining how the eternal object is to be utilized, and is also intensive, 
determining what importance that utilization is to assume. 

Thus a valuation has three characteristics: 

(i) According to the Categories of Subjective Unity, and [369] of Sub- 
jective Harmony, the valuation is dependent on the other feelings in its 
phase of origination. 

(ii) The valuation determines in what status the eternal object has in- 
gression into the integrated nexus physically felt. 

(iii) The valuation values up, or down, so as to determine the intensive 
importance accorded to the eternal object by the subjective form of the 
integral feeling. 

These three characteristics of an integral feeling, derived from its con- 
ceptual components, are summed up in the term 'valuation/ 

But though these three characteristics are included in a valuation, they 
are merely the outcome of the subjective aim of the subject, determining 
what it is itself integrally to be, in its own character of the superject of its 
own process. 


Consciousness concerns the subjective form of a feeling. But such a sub- 
jective form requires a certain type of objective datum. A subjective form 
in abstraction loses its reality, and sinks into an eternal object capable of 
determining a feeling into that distinctive type of definiteness. But when 
the eternal object 'informs' a feeling it can only so operate in virtue of its 
conformation to the other components which jointly constitute the defi- 
niteness of the feeling. The moral of this slight discussion must now be 
applied to the notion of 'consciousness/ Consciousness is an element in 
feeling which belongs to its subjective form. But there can only be that 
sort of subjective form when the objective datum has an adequate charac- 
ter. Further, the objective datum can only assume this character when it is 
derivate from initial data which carry in their individual selves the re- 
ciprocal possibilities of this objective synthesis. 

A pure conceptual feeling in its first mode of origination never involves 
consciousness. In this respect a pure mental feeling, conceptual or proposi- 
tional, is analogous [370] to a pure physical feeling. A primary feeling of 

242 The Theory of Prehensions 

either type, or a propositional feeling, can enrich its subjective form with 
consciousness only hy means of its alliances. 

Whenever there is consciousness there is some element of recollection. 
It recalls earlier phases from the dim recesses of the unconscious. Long ago 
this truth was asserted in Plato's doctrine of reminiscence. No doubt Plato 
was directly thinking of glimpses of eternal truths lingering in a soul 
derivate from a timeless heaven of pure form. Be that as it may, then in a 
wider sense consciousness enlightens experience which precedes it, and 
could be without it if considered as a mere datum. 

Hume, with opposite limitations to his meaning, asserts the same doc- 
trine. He maintains that we can never conceptually entertain what we have 
never antecedently experienced through impressions of sensation. The 
philosophy of organism generalizes the notion of 'impressions of sensation' 
into that of 'pure physical feeling/ Even then Hume's assertion is too un- 
guarded according to Hume's own showing. But the immediate point is 
the deep-seated alliance of consciousness with recollection both for Plato 
and for Hume. 

Here we maintain the doctrine that, in the analysis of the origination of 
any conscious feeling, some component physical feelings are to be found; 
and conversely, whenever there is consciousness, there is some component 
of conceptual functioning. For the abstract element in the concrete fact is 
exactly what provokes our consciousness. The consciousness is what arises 
in some process of synthesis of physical and mental operations. In hist 
doctrine of ideas, Locke goes further than Hume and is, as I think, more 
accurate in expressing the facts; though Hume adds something which 
Locke omits. 

Locke upholds the direct conscious apprehension of 'things without' 
(e.g.,t Essay, II, XXI, 1), otherwise termed 'exterior things' (II, XXIII, 1), 
or 'this or that particular existence' (III, III, 6), and illustrated by an in- 
dividual nurse and an individual mother (III, III, 7). [371] In the philos- 
ophy of organism the nexus, which is the basis for such direct apprehen- 
sion, is provided by the physical feelings. The philosophy of organism 
here takes the opposite road to that taken alike by Descartes and by Kant. 
Both of these philosophers accepted (Descartes with hesitations, and Kant 
without question) the traditional subjectivist sensationalism, and assigned 
the intuition of 'things without' peculiarly to the intelligence. 

Hume's addition consists in expressing and discussing, with the utmost 
clarity, the traditional sensationalist dogma. Thus for Hume, as for Locke 
when he remembers to speak in terms of this doctrine, an 'impression' is 
the conscious apprehension of a universal. For example, he writes {Trea- 
tise, Bk. I,t Part I, Ch. I), "That idea of red, which we form in the dark, 
and that impression which strikes our eyes in sunshine, differ only in de- 
gree, not in nature." t This means that a consistent sensationalism cannot 
distinguish between a percept and a concept. Hume had not in his mind 
(at least when philosophizing, though he admits it for other sorts of 'prac- 

The Primary Feelings 243 

tice') the fourth category of explanation, that no entity can be abstracted 
from its capacity to function as an object in the process of the actual world. 
To function as an object' is 'to be a determinant of the definiteness of an 
actual occurrence/ According to the philosophy of organism, a pure con- 
cept does not involve consciousness, at least in our human experience. 
Consciousness arises when a synthetic feeling integrates physical and con- 
ceptual feelings. Traditional philosophy in its account of conscious per- 
ception has exclusively fixed attention on its pure conceptual side; and 
thereby has made difficulties for itself in the theory of knowledge. Locke, 
with his naive good sense, assumes that perception involves more than this 
conceptual side; though he fails to grasp the inconsistency of this assump- 
tion with the extreme subjectivist sensational doctrine. Physical feelings 
form the non-conceptual element in our awareness of [372] nature. 1 Also, 
all awareness, even awareness of concepts, requires at least the synthesis of 
physical feelings with conceptual feeling. In awareness actuality, as a 
process in fact, is integrated with the potentialities which illustrate either 
what it is and might not be, or what it is not and might be. In other 
words, there is no consciousness without reference to definiteness, affirma- 
tion, and negation. Also affirmation involves its contrast with negation, 
and negation involves its contrast with affirmation. Further, affirmation 
and negation are alike meaningless apart from reference to the definiteness 
of particular actualities. Consciousness is how we feel the affirmation- 
negation contrast. Conceptual feeling is the feeling of an unqualified nega- 
tion; that is to say, it is the feeling of a definite eternal object with the 
definite extrusion of any particular realization. Consciousness requires that 
the objective datum should involve (as one side of a contrast) a qualified 
negative determined to some definite situation. It will be found later (cf. 
Ch. IV) that this doctrine implies that there is no consciousness apart 
from propositions as one element in the objective datum. 

1 Cf. The Concept of Nature, Ch. I. 



[373] According to the ontological principle there is nothing which 
floats into the world from nowhere. Everything in the actual world is re- 
ferable to some actual entity. It is either transmitted from an actual entity 
in the past, or belongs to the subjective aim of the actual entity to whose 
concrescence it belongs. This subjective aim is both an example and a limi- 
tation of the ontological principle. It is an example, in that the principle is 
here applied to the immediacy of concrescent fact. The subject completes 
itself during the process of concrescence by a self-criticism of its own 
incomplete phases. In another sense the subjective aim limits the on- 
tological principle by its own autonomy. But the initial stage of its aim is 
an endowment which the subject inherits from the inevitable ordering of 
things, conceptually realized in the nature of God. The immediacy of the 
concrescent subject is constituted by its living aim at its own self-constitu- 
tion. Thus the initial stage of the aim is rooted in the nature of God, and 
its completion depends on the self-causation of the subject-superject. This 
function of God is analogous to the remorseless working of things in 
Greek and in Buddhist thought. The initial aim is the best for that im- 
passe. But if the best be bad, then the ruthlessness of God can be personi- 
fied as Ate, the goddess of mischief. The chaff is burnt. What is inexorable 
in God, is valuation as an aim towards 'order'; and 'order' means 'society 
permissive of actualities with patterned intensity of feeling arising from 
adjusted con- [374] trasts/t In this sense God is the principle of concretion; 
namely, he is that actual entity from which each temporal concrescence 
receives that initial aim from which its self-causation starts. That aim 
determines the initial gradations of relevance of eternal objects for con- 
ceptual feeling; and constitutes the autonomous subject in its primary 
phase of feelings with its initial conceptual valuations, and with its initial 
physical purposes. Thus the transition of the creativity from an actual 
world to the correlate novel concrescence is conditioned by the relevance 
of God's all-embracing conceptual valuations to the particular possibilities 
of transmission from the actual world, and by its relevance to the various 
possibilities of initial subjective form available for the initial feelings. In 
this way there is constituted the concrescent subject in its primary phase 
with its dipolar constitution, physical and mental, indissoluble. 


The Transmission of Feelings 245 

If we prefer the phraseology, we can say that God and the actual world 
jointly constitute the character of the creativity for the initial phase of the 
novel concrescence. The subject, thus constituted, is the autonomous mas- 
ter of its own concrescence into subject-superject. It passes from a sub- 
jective aim in concrescence into a superject with objective immortality. At 
any stage it is subject-superject. According to this explanation, self-deter- 
mination is always imaginative in its origin. The deterministic efficient 
causation is the inflow of the actual world in its own proper character of 
its own feelings, with their own intensive strength, felt and re-enacted by 
the novel concrescent subject. But this re-enaction has a mere character of 
conformation to pattern. The subjective valuation is the work of novel 
conceptual feeling; and in proportion to its importance, acquired in com- 
plex processes of integration and reintegration, this autonomous concep- 
tual element modifies the subjective forms throughout the whole range of 
feeling in that concrescence and thereby guides the integrations. 

In so far as there is negligible autonomous energy, the [375] subject 
merely receives the physical feelings, confirms their valuations according to 
the 'order' of that epoch, and transmits by reason of its own objective im- 
mortality. Its own flash of autonomous individual experience is negligible 
for the science which is tracing transmissions up to the conscious ex- 
perience of a final observer. But as soon as individual experience is not 
negligible, the autonomy of the subject in the modification of its initial 
subjective aim must be taken into account. Each creative act is the uni- 
verse incarnating itself as one, and there is nothing above it by way of final 


The general doctrine of the previous section requires an examination of 
principles regulating the transmission of feelings into data for novel feel- 
ings in a new concrescence. Since no feeling can be abstracted from its sub- 
ject, this transmission is merely another way of considering the objectifica- 
tion of actual entities. A feeling will be called 'physical' when its datum 
involves objectifications of other actual entities. In the previous chapter 
the special case of 'simple physical feelings' was discussed. A feeling be- 
longing to this special case has as its datum only one actual entity, and 
this actual entity is objectified by one of its feelings. All the more com- 
plex kinds of physical feelings arise in subsequent phases of concrescence, 
in virtue of integrations of simple t physical feelings with each other and 
with conceptual feelings. But before proceeding to these more complex 
physical feelings, a subdivision of simple physical feelings must be con- 
sidered. Such feelings are subdivided into 'pure physical feelings' and 'hy- 
brid physical feelings/ In a 'pure physical feeling' the actual entity which 
is the datum is objectified by one of its own physical feelings. Thus having 
regard to the 're-enaction' which is characteristic of the subjective form of 

246 The Theory of Prehensions 

a simple physical feeling, we have— in the case of the simpler actual en- 
tities—an example of the transference of energy in the physical [376] 
world. When the datum is an actual entity of a highly complex grade, the 
physical feeling by which it is objectified as a datum may be of a highly 
complex character, and the simple notion of a transference of some form 
of energy to the new subject may entirely fail to exhaust the important 
aspects of the pure physical feeling in question. 

In a 'hybrid physical feeling' the actual entity forming the datum is 
objectified by one of its own conceptual feelings. Thus having regard to 
the element of autonomy which is characteristic of the subjective form of 
a conceptual feeling, we have— in the case of the more complex actual 
entities— an example of the origination and direction of energy in the 
physical world. In general, this simplified aspect of a hybrid physical feel- 
ing does not exhaust its role in the concrescence of its subject. 

The disastrous separation of body and mind, characteristic of philo- 
sophical systems which are in any important respect derived from Car- 
tesianism, is avoided in the philosophy of organism by the doctrines of 
hybrid physical feelings and of the transmuted feelings. In these ways 
conceptual feelings pass into the category of physical feelings. Also con- 
versely, physical feelings give rise to conceptual feelings, and conceptual 
feelings give rise to other conceptual feelings— according to the doctrines 
of the Categories of Conceptual Valuation (Category IV), and of Con- 
ceptual Reversion (Category V), to be discussed in the subsequent sec- 
tions of this chapter. 

One important characteristic of a hybrid feeling is the intensity of the 
conceptual feeling which originates from it, according to the Category of 
Subjective Valuation. In the next section, this Categoreal Condition of 
'Conceptual Valuation' is considered in relation to all physical feelings, 
'pure' and 'hybrid' alike. The present section will only anticipate that dis- 
cussion so far as hybrid feelings are concerned. Thus the part of the general 
category now relevant can be formulated: 

[377] A hybrid physical feeling originates for its subject a conceptual 
feeling with the same datum as that of the conceptual feeling of the ante- 
cedent subject. But the two conceptual feelings in the two subjects re- 
spectively may have different subjective forms. 

There is an autonomy in the formation of the subjective forms of con- 
ceptual feelings, conditioned only by the unity of the subject as expressed 
in categoreal conditions I, VII, and VIII. These conditions for unity cor- 
relate the sympathetic subjective form of the hybrid feeling with the 
autonomous subjective form of the derivative conceptual feeling with the 
same subject. 

There are evidently two sub-species of hybrid feelings: (i) those which 
feel the conceptual feelings of temporal actual entities, and (ii) those 
which feel the conceptual feelings of God. 

The objectification of God in a temporal subject is effected by the hy- 

The Transmission of Feelings 247 

brid feelings with God's conceptual feelings as data. Those of God's feel- 
ings which are positively prehended are those with some compatibility of 
contrast, or of identity, with physical feelings transmitted from the tem- 
poral world. But when we take God into account, then we can assert with- 
out any qualification Hume's principle, that all conceptual feelings are 
derived from physical feelings. The limitation of Hume's principle intro- 
duced by the consideration of the Category of Conceptual Reversion 
(cf. Sect. Ill of this chapter) is to be construed as referring merely to the 
transmission from the temporal world, leaving God out of account. Apart 
from the intervention of God, there could be nothing new in the world, 
and no order in the world. The course of creation would be a dead level 
of ineffectiveness, with all balance and intensity progressively excluded by 
the cross currents of incompatibility. The novel hybrid feelings derived 
from God, with the derivative sympathetic conceptual valuations, are the 
foundations of progress. [378] 


Conceptual feelings are primarily derivate from physical feelings, and 
secondarily from each other. In this statement, the consideration of God's 
intervention is excluded. When this intervention is taken into account, 
all conceptual feelings must be derived from physical feelings. Unfettered 
conceptual valuation, 'infinite' in Spinoza's sense of that term, is only 
possible once in the universe; since that creative act is objectively immortal 
as an inescapable condition characterizing creative action. 

But, unless otherwise stated, only the temporal entities of the actual 
world will be considered. We have to discuss the categoreal conditions for 
such derivation of conceptual feelings from the physical feelings relating 
to the temporal world. By the Categoreal Condition of Subjective Unity- 
Category I— the initial phase of physical feelings has the propositional 
unity of feelings compatible for integration into one feeling of the actual 
world. But the completed determination of the subjective form of this 
final ''satisfaction' awaits the origination of conceptual feelings whose 
subjective forms introduce the factor of Valuation/ that is, Valuation up' 
or Valuation down/ 

Thus a supplementary phase succeeds to the initial purely physical 
phase. This supplementary phase starts with two subordinate phases of 
conceptual origination, and then passes into phases of integration, and of 
reintegration, in which propositional feelings, and intellectual feelings, may 
emerge. In the present chapter we are concerned with the first two phases 
of merely conceptual origination. These are not phases of conceptual 
analysis, but of conceptual valuation. The subsequent analytic phases in- 
volve propositional feelings, and in certain circumstances issue in con- 
sciousness. But in this chaptert we are merely concerned with blind con- 
ceptual valuation, and with the effect of such valuation upon physical 

248 The Theory of Prehensioiis 

feel- [379] ings which lie in the future beyond the actual entities in which 
such valuations occur. 

The initial problem is to discover the principles according to which 
some eternal objects are prehended positively and others are prehended 
negatively. Some are felt and others are eliminated. 

In the solution of this problem five* additional categoreal conditions 
must be added to the three such conditions which have already been ex- 
plained. The conditions have regard to the origination, and coordination, 
of conceptual feelings. They govern the general process of 'conceptual 
imagination/ so far as concerns its origination from physical experience. 

Category IV. The Category of Conceptual Valuation. From each physi- 
cal feeling there is the derivation of a purely conceptual feeling whose 
datum is the eternal object exemplified in the definiteness of the actual 
entity, or oft the nexus, physically felt. 

This category maintains the old principle that mentality originates from 
sensitive experience. It lays down the principle that all sensitive experience 
originates mental operations. It does not, however, mean that there is no 
origination of other mental operations derivative from these primary men- 
tal operations. Nor does it mean that these mental operations involve 
consciousness, which is the product of intricate integration. 

The mental pole originates as the conceptual counterpart of operations 
in the physical pole. The two poles are inseparable in their origination. 
The mental pole starts with the conceptual registration of the physical 
pole. This conceptual registration constitutes the sole datum of experience 
according to the sensationalist school. Writers of this school entirely 
neglect physical feelings, originating in the physical pole. Hume's 'im- 
pressions of sensation' and Kant's sensational data are considered in terms 
only applicable to conceptual registration. Hence Kant's notion of the 
chaos of such ulti- [380] mate data. Also Hume— at least, in his Treatise- 
can only find differences of 'force and vivacity/ 

The subjective form of a conceptual feeling is valuation. These valua- 
tions are subject to the Category of Subjective Unity. Thus the conceptual 
registration is conceptual valuation; and conceptual valuation introduces 
creative purpose. The mental pole introduces the subject as a determinant 
of its own concrescence. The mental pole is the subject determining its 
own ideal of itself by reference to eternal principles of valuation autono- 
mously modified in their application to its own physical objective datum. 
Every actual entity is 'in time' so far as its physical pole is concerned, and 
is 'out of time' so far as its mental pole is concerned. It is the union of 
two worlds, namely, the temporal world, and the world of autonomous 
valuation. The integration of each simple physical feeling with its con- 
ceptual counterpart produces in a subsequent phase a physical feeling 
whose subjective form of re-enaction has gained or lost subjective intensity 
according to the valuation up, or the valuation down, in the conceptual 
feeling. So far there is merely subjective readjustment of the subjective 

The Transmission of Feelings 249 

forms. This is the phase of physical purpose. The effect of the conceptual 
feeling is thus, so far, merely to provide that the modified subjective form 
is not merely derived from the re-enaction of the objectified actual entity. 
Also, in the complex subsequent integrations, we find that the conceptual 
counterpart has a role in detachment from the physical feeling out of 
which it originates. 

Category V. The Category of Conceptual Reversion. There is sec- 
ondary origination of conceptual feelings with data which are partially 
identical with, and partially diverse from, the eternal objects forming the 
data in the primary phase of the mental pole; the determination of iden- 
tity and diversity depending on the subjective aim at attaining depth of 
intensity by reason of contrast. 

Thus the first phase of the mental pole is conceptual [381] reproduction, 
and the second phase is a phase of conceptual reversion. In this second 
phase the proximate novelties are conceptually felt. This is the process by 
which the subsequent enrichment of subjective forms, both in qualitative 
pattern, and in intensity through contrast, is made possible by the positive 
conceptual prehension of relevant alternatives. 1 There is a conceptual con- 
trast of physical incompatibles. This is the category which, as thus stated, 
seems to limit the strict application of Plato's principle of reminiscence, 
and of Hume's principle of recollection. Probably it does not contradict 
anything that Plato meant by his principle. But it does limit the rigid 
application of Hume's principle. Indeed Hume himself admitted excep- 
tions. It is the category by which novelty enters the world; so that even 
amid stability there is never undifferentiated endurance. But, as the cate- 
gory states, reversion is always limited by the necessary inclusion of ele- 
ments identical with elements in feelings of the antecedent phase. By the 
Category of Subjective Unity, and by the seventh Category of Subjective 
Harmony, to be explained later, all origination of feelings is governed 
by the subjective imposition of aptitude for final synthesis. Also by the 
Category of Objective Identity this aptitude always has its ground in the 
two-way functionings of self-identical elements. Then in synthesis there 
must always be a ground of identity and an aim at contrast. The aim at 
contrast arises from the depth of intensity promoted by contrast. The 
joint necessity of this ground of identity, and this aim at contrast, is 
partially expressed in this Category of Conceptual Reversion, This 'aim 
at contrast' is the expression of the ultimate creative purpose that each 
unification shall achieve some maximum depth of intensity of feeling, 
subject to the conditions of its concrescence. This ultimate purpose is 
formulated in Category VIII. 

The question, how, and in what sense, one unrealized [382] eternal ob- 
ject can be more, or less, proximate to an eternal object in realized ingres- 
sion— that is to say, in comparison with any other unfelt eternal object— 

1 For another discussion of this topic, cf. my Religion in the Making, Ch. Ill, 
Sect. VII. 

250 The Theory of Prehensions 

is left unanswered by this Category of Reversion. In conformity with the 
ontological principle, this question can be answered only by reference to 
some actual entity. Every eternal object has entered into the conceptual 
feelings of God. Thus, a more fundamental account must ascribe the re- 
verted conceptual feeling in a temporal subject to its conceptual feeling de- 
rived, according to Category IV, from the hybrid physical feeling of the 
relevancies conceptually ordered in God's experience. In this way, by the 
recognition of God's characterization of the creative act, a more complete 
rational explanation is attained. The Category of Reversion is then abol- 
ished;* and Hume's principle of the derivation of conceptual experience 
from physical experience remains without any exception. 


The two categories of the preceding section concerned the efficacy of 
physical feelings, pure or hybrid, for the origination of conceptual feelings 
in a later phase of their own subject. The present section considers analo- 
gous feelings with diverse subjects 'scattered' throughout members of a 
nexus. It considers a single subject, subsequent to the nexus, prehending 
this multiplicity of scattered feelings as the data for a corresponding mul- 
tiplicity of its own simple physical feelings, some pure and some hybrid. 
It then formulates the process by which in that subject an analogy between 
these various feelings— constituted by one eternal object, of whatever com- 
plexity, implicated in the various analogous data of these feelings— is, by 
a supervening process of integration, converted into one feeling having 
for its datum the specific contrast between the nexus as one entity and 
that eternal object. This contrast is what is familiarly known as the quali- 
fication of the nexus by that eternal object. An inter- [383] mediate stage 
in this process of integration is the formation in the final subject of one 
conceptual feeling with that eternal object as its datum. This conceptual 
feeling has an impartial relevance to the above-mentioned various simple 
physical feelings of the various members of the nexus. It is this impartiality 
of the conceptual feeling which leads to the integration in which the many 
members of the nexus are collected into the one nexus which they form, 
and in which that nexus is set in contrast to the one eternal object which 
has emerged from their analogies. 

Thus pure, and hybrid, physical feelings, issuing into a single concep- 
tual feeling, constitute the preliminary phase of this transmutation in the 
prehending subject. The integration of these feelings in that subject leads 
to the transmuted physical feeling of a nexus as qualified by that eternal 
object which is the datum of the single conceptual feeling. In this way the 
world is physically felt as a unity, and is felt as divisible into parts which 
are unities, namely, nexus. Each such unity has its own characteristics 
arising from the undiscriminated actual entities which are members of 
that nexus. In some cases objectification of the nexus has only indirect 

The Transmission of Feelings 251 

reference to the characteristics of its individual atomic actualities. In such 
a case the objectification may introduce new elements into the world, for- 
tunate or unfortunate. Usually the objectification gives direct informa- 
tion, so that the prehending subject shapes itself as the direct outcome of 
the order prevalent in the prehended nexus. Transmutation is the way 
in which the actual world is felt as a community, and is so felt in virtue 
of its prevalent order. For it arises by reason of the analogies between the 
various members of the prehended nexus, and eliminates their differences. 
Apart from transmutation our feeble intellectual operations would fail to 
penetrate into the dominant characteristics of things. We can only under- 
stand by discarding. Transmutation depends upon a categoreal condition. 

[384] Category VI. The Category of Transmutation. When (in accord- 
ance with Category IV, or with Categories IV and V) one and the samet 
conceptual feeling is derived impartially by a prehending subject from 
its analogous simple physical feelings of various actual entities, then in 
a subsequent phase of integration—of these simple physical feelings to- 
gether with the derivate conceptual feeling— the prehending subject may 
transmute the datum of this conceptual feeling into a contrast with the 
nexus of those prehended actual entities, or of some part of that nexus; 
so that the nexus (or its part), thus qualified, is the objective datum of a 
feeling entertained by this prehending subject. 

Such a transmutation of simple physical feelings of many actualities 
into one physical feeling of a nexus as one, is called a 'transmuted feeling/ 
The origination of such a feeling depends upon intensities, valuations, and 
eliminations conjointly favourable. 

In order to understand this categoreal condition, it must be noted that 
the integration of simple physical feelings into a complex physical feeling 
only provides for the various actual entities of the nexus being felt as sep- 
arate entities requiring each other. We have to account for the substitu- 
tion of the one nexus in place of its component actual entities. This is 
Leibniz's problem which arises in his Monadology. He solves the problem 
by an unanalysed doctrine of 'confusion/ Some category is required to pro- 
vide a physical feeling of a nexus as one entity with its own categoreal 
type of existence. This one physical feeling in the final subject is derived 
by transmutation from the various analogous physical feelings entertained 
by the various members of the nexus, together with their various analogous 
conceptual feelings (with these various members as subjects) originated 
from these physical feelings, either directly according to Category IV, 
or indirectly according to Category V. The analogy of the physical feel- 
ings consists in the fact that their definite character exhibits the same in- 
gredient [385] eternal object. The analogy of the conceptual feelings con- 
sists in the fact that this one eternal object, or one reversion from this 
eternal object, is the datum for the various relevant conceptual feelings 
entertained respectively by members of the nexus. The final prehending 
subject prehends the members of the nexus, (i) by 'pure' physical feelings 

252 The Theory of Prehensions 

in which the members are severally objectified by these analogous physical 
feelings, and (ii) by hybrid physical feelings in which the members are 
severally objectified by these analogous conceptual feelings. 

In the prehending subject, these analogous, pure physical feelings origi- 
nate a conceptual feeling, according to Category IV; and, according to 
Category V, there may be a reverted conceptual feeling. There will be 
only one direct conceptual feeling; for the simple physical feelings (in the 
final subject) are analogous in the sense of exemplifying the same eternal 
object. (If there be no reversion, this analogy extends over the pure and 
the hybrid physical feelings. If there be important reversion, this analogy 
only extends over the hybrid feelings with the reverted conceptual feel- 
ings as data. This latter case is only important when the reverted feelings 
involve the predominantly intense valuation.) Thus these many physical 
feelings of diverse actualities originate in the final subject one conceptual 
feeling. This single conceptual feeling has therefore an impartial reference 
throughout the actualities of the nexus. Also reverted conceptual feelings 
in the nexus are, in this connection, negligible unless they preserved this 
impartiality of reference throughout the nexus. Excluding for the moment 
the consideration of reverted feelings in the actualities of the nexus, the 
hybrid physical feelings in the prehending subject also, by Category IV, 
generate one conceptual feeling with impartial reference; also it is the same 
conceptual feeling as that generated by the pure physical feelings (in the 
final subject). Thus (with no reversion) the influence of the hybrid 
physical feelings [386] is to enhance the intensity of the conceptual feeling 
derived from the pure physical feelings. But there may be reversions to 
be considered, that is to say, reversions with impartial reference throughout 
the nexus. The reversion may originate in the separate actualities of the 
nexus, or in the final prehending subject, or there may be a double rever- 
sion involving both sources. Thus we must allow for the possibility of di- 
verse reverted feelings, each with impartial reference. In so far as there 
is concordance and the reversions are dominant, there will issue one con- 
ceptual feeling of enhanced intensity. When there is discordance among 
these various conceptual feelings, there will be elimination, and in general 
no transmutation. But when, from some (or all) of these sources of im- 
partial conceptual feelings, one dominant impartial conceptual feeling 
emerges with adequate intensity, transmutation will supervene. 

This impartiality of reference has then been transmuted into the physi- 
cal feeling of that nexus, whole or partial, contrasted with some one eternal 
object. It will be noted that this one impartial conceptual feeling is an 
essential element of the process, whereby an impartial reference to the 
whole nexus is introduced. Otherwise there would be no element to trans- 
mute particular relevancies to the many members into general relevance 
to the whole. 

The eternal object which characterizes the nexus in this physical feeling 

The Transmission of Feelings 253 

may be an eternal object characterizing the analogous physical feelings, 
belonging to all, or some, of the members of the nexus. In this case, the 
nexus as a whole derives a character which in some way belongs to its 
various members. 

Again in the transmuted feeling only part of the original nexus may 
be objectified, and the eternal object may have been derived from mem- 
bers of the other part of the original nexus. This is the case for perception 
in the mode of 'presentational immediacy/ to be further discussed in a 
later chapter (Part IV, Ch. V; cf. alsof [387] Part II, Ch. II, Sect. I, and 
Part II, Ch. IV, Sect. VII, and Part II, Ch. VIII) . 

Also the eternal object may be the datum of a reverted conceptual feel- 
ing, only indirectly derived from the members of the original nexus. In 
this case, the transmuted feeling of the nexus introduces novelty; and in 
unfortunate cases this novelty may be termed 'error/ But all the same, 
the transmuted feeling, whatever be its history of transmutation, is a definite 
physical fact whereby the final subject prehends the nexus. For example, 
considering the example of presentational immediacy, colour-blindness 
may be called 'error'; but nevertheless, it is a physical fact. A transmuted 
feeling comes under the definition of a physical feeling. 

Our usual way of consciously prehending the world is by these trans- 
muted physical feelings. It is only when we are consciously aware of alien 
mentalities that we even approximate to the conscious prehension of a 
single actual entity. It will be found that transmuted feelings are very 
analogous to prepositional feelings, and to conscious perceptions and 
judgments in their sequence of integration. Vagueness has its origin in 
transmuted feelings. For a quality, characterizing the mutual prehen- 
sions of all the members of a nexus, is transmuted into a predicate of the 
nexus. The intensity arising from the force of repetition makes this trans- 
muted perception to be the prominent type of those feelings which in 
further integrations acquire consciousness as an element in their subjective 
forms. It represents a simplification of physical feeling, effected in the 
course of integration. 

According to this category the conceptual feelings entertained in any 
nexus modify the future role of that nexus as a physical objective datum. 
This category governs the transition from conceptual feelings in one actual 
entity to physical feelings either in a supervening phase of itself or in a 
later actual entity. What is conceptual earlier is felt physically later in an 
extended role. Thus, for instance, a new 'form' has its emergent ingres- 
sion con- [388] ceptually by reversion, and receives delayed exemplification 
physically when the other categoreal conditions permit. 

This joint operation of Categories IV and VI produces what has been 
termed 'adversion' and 'aversion/ For the conceptual feelings in the ac- 
tualities of the nexus, produced according to Category IV, have data 
identical with the pattern exemplified in the objective data of the many 

254 The Theory of Prehensions 

physical feelings. If in the conceptual feelings there is valuation upward, 
then the physical feelings are transmitted t to the new concrescence with 
enhanced intensity in its subjective form. This is 'adversion/ 

But if in the conceptual feelings there is valuation downward, then the 
physical feelings are (in the later concrescence) either eliminated, or are 
transmitted to it with attenuated intensity. This is 'aversion/ Thus 'adver- 
sion' and 'aversion' are types of 'decision/ 

Thus the conceptual feeling with its valuation has primarily the charac- 
ter of purpose, since it is the agent whereby the decision is made as to 
the causal efficacy of its subject in its objectifications beyond itself. But it 
only achieves this character of purpose by its integration with the physical 
feeling from which it originates. This integration is considered in Chapter 
V on 'Comparative Feelings/ 

It is evident that ad version and aversion, and also the Category of 
Transmutation, only have importance in the case of high-grade organ- 
isms. They constitute the first step towards intellectual mentality, though 
in themselves they do not amount to consciousness. But an actual entity 
which includes these operations must have an important intensity of con- 
ceptual feelings able to mask and fuse the simple physical feelings. 

Also the examination of the Category of Transmutation shows that the 
approach to intellectuality consists in the gain of a power of abstraction. 
The irrelevant multiplicity of detail is eliminated, and emphasis is laid 
on the elements of systematic order in the actual world. In [389] so far 
as there is trivial order, there must be trivialized actual entities. The right 
coordination of the negative prehensions is one secret of mental progress; 
but unless some systematic scheme of relatedness characterizes the en- 
vironment, there will be nothing left whereby to constitute vivid pre- 
hension of the world. The low-grade organism is merely the summation 
of the forms of energy which flow in upon it in all their multiplicity of 
detail. It receives, and it transmits; but it fails to simplify into intelligible 
system. The physical theory of the structural flow of energy has to do 
with the transmission of simple physical feelings from individual actuality 
to individual actuality. Thus some sort of quantum theory in physics, 
relevant to the existing type of cosmic order, is to be expected. The physical 
theory of alternative forms of energy, and of the transformation from one 
form to another form, ultimately depends upon transmission conditioned 
by some exemplification of the Categories of Transmutation and Reversion. 


The seventh categoreal condition governs the efficacy of conceptual 
feelings both in the completion of their own subjects, and also in the 
objectifications of their subjects in subsequent concrescence. It is the 
Category of 'Subjectivet Harmony/ 

Category VII. The Category of Subjective Harmony. The valuations of 

The Transmission of Feelings 255 

conceptual feelings are mutually determined by their adaptation to be 
joint elements in a satisfaction aimed at by the subject. 

This categoreal condition should be compared with the Category of 
'Subjective Unity/ and also with the Category of 'Conceptual Reversion/ In 
the former category the intrinsic inconsistencies, termed logical/ are the 
formative conditions in the pre-established harmony. In this seventh 
category, and in the Category of Reversion, aesthetic adaptation for an 
end is the formative condition in the pre-established harmony. These three 
categories [390] express the ultimate particularity of feelings. For the 
superject which is their outcome is also the subject which is operative in 
their production. They are the creation of their own creature. The point 
to be noticed is that the actual entity, in a state of process during which it 
is not fully definite, determines its own ultimate definiteness. This is the 
whole point of moral responsibility. Such responsibility is conditioned by 
the limits of the data, and by the categoreal conditions of concrescence. 

But autonomy is negligible unless the complexity is such that there is 
great energy in the production of conceptual feelings according to the 
Category of Reversion. This Category of Reversion has to be considered in 
connection with the Category of Aesthetic Harmony.** For the contrasts 
produced by reversion are contrasts required for the fulfillment of the 
aesthetic ideal. Unless there is complexity, ideal diversities lead to physical 
impossibilities, and thence to impoverishment. It requires a complex con- 
stitution to stage diversities as consistent contrasts. 

It is only by reason of the Categories of Subjective Unity, and of Subjec- 
tive Harmony, that the process constitutes the character of the product, 
and that conversely the analysis of the product discloses the process. J 



[391] The nature of consciousness has not yet been adequately ana- 
lysed. The initial basic feelings, physical and conceptual, have been men- 
tioned, and so also has the final synthesis into the affirmation-negation 
contrast. But between the beginning and the end of the integration into 
consciousness, there lies the origination of a 'propositional feeling/ A 
propositional feeling is a feeling whose objective datum is a proposition. 
Such a feeling does not in itself involve consciousness. But all forms of 
consciousness arise from ways of integration of propositional feelings with 
other feelings, either physical feelings or conceptual feelings. Conscious- 
ness belongs to the subjective forms of such feelings. 

A proposition enters into experience as the entity forming the datum of 
a complex feeling derived from the integration of a physical feeling with 
a conceptual feeling. 1 Now a conceptual feeling does not refer to the actual 
world, in the sense that the history of this actual world has any peculiar 
relevance to its datum. This datum is an eternal object; and an eternal 
object refers only to the purely general any among undetermined actual 
entities. In itself an eternal object evades any selection among actualities 
or epochs. You cannot know what is red by merely thinking of redness. 
You can only find red things by adventuring amid physical experiences 
in this actual world. This doctrine is the ultimate ground of empiricism; 
namely, that eternal objects tell no tales as to their ingressions. 

[392] But now a new kind of entity presents itself. Such entities are the 
tales that perhaps might be told about particular actualities. Such entities 
are neither actual entities, nor eternal objects, nor feelings. They are prop- 
ositions. A proposition must be true or false. Herein a proposition differs 
from an eternal object; for no eternal object is ever true or false. This 
difference between propositions and eternal objects arises from the fact 
that truth and falsehood are always grounded upon a reason. But according 
to the ontological principle (the eighteenth! 'category of explanation'), 
a reason is always a reference to determinate actual entities. Now an eter- 
nal object, in itself, abstracts from all determinate actual entities, includ- 
ing even God. It is merely referent to any such entities, in the absolutely 
general sense of any. Then there can be no reason upon which to found 

1 Cf.t also 'Physical Purposes' considered in Ch. V. 

Propositions and Feelings 257 

the truth or falsehood of an eternal object. The very diversity of eternal 
objects has for its reason their diversity of functioning in this actual world. 

Thus the endeavour to understand eternal objects in complete abstrac- 
tion from the actual world results in reducing them to mere undifferen- 
tiated nonentities. This is an exemplification of the categoreal principle, 
that the general metaphysical character of being an entity is *'to be a deter- 
minant in the becoming of actualities/ Accordingly the differentiated 
relevance of eternal objects to each instance of the creative process re- 
quires their conceptual realization in the primordial nature of God. He 
does not create eternal objects; for his nature requires them in the same 
degree that they require him. This is an exemplification of the coherence 
of the categoreal types of existence. The general relationships of eternal 
objects to each other, relationships of diversity and of pattern, are their 
relationships in God's conceptual realization. Apart from this realization, 
there is mere isolation indistinguishable from nonentity. 

But a proposition, while preserving the indeterminateness of an eternal 
object, makes an incomplete abstrac- [393] tion from determinate actual 
entities. It is a complex entity, with determinate actual entities among its 
components. These determinate actual entities, considered formaliter and 
not as in the abstraction of the proposition, do afford a reason determining 
the truth or falsehood of the proposition. But the proposition in itself, 
apart from recourse to these reasons, tells no tale about itself; and in this 
respect it is indeterminate like the eternal objects. 

A propositional feeling (as has been stated) arises from a special type 
of integration synthesizing a physical feeling with a conceptual feeling. 
The objective datum of the physical feeling is either one actual entity, 
if the feeling be simple, or is a determinate nexus of actual entities, if the 
physical feeling be more complex. The datum of the conceptual feeling is 
an eternal object which is referent (qua possibility) + to any actual entities, 
where the any is absolutely general and devoid of selection. In the in- 
tegrated objective datum the physical feeling provides its determinate set 
of actual entities, indicated by their felt physical relationships to the sub- 
ject of the feeling. These actual entities are the logical subjects of the 
proposition. The absolute generality of the notion of any, inherent in an 
eternal object, is thus eliminated in the fusion. In the proposition, the 
eternal object, in respect to its possibilities as a determinant of nexus, f is 
restricted to these logical subjects. The proposition may have the restricted 
generality of referring to any among these provided logical subjects; or 
it may have the singularity of referring to the complete set of provided 
logical subjects as potential relata, each with its assigned status, in the 
complex pattern which is the eternal object. The proposition is the poten- 
tiality of the eternal object, as a determinant of denniteness, in some 
determinate mode of restricted reference to the logical subjects. This 
e ternal object is the 'predicative pattern' of the proposition. The set of 
logical subjects is either completely singled out as these logical subjects in 

258 The Theory of Prehensions 

this predicative pattern or is collec- [394] tively singled out as any of these 
logical subjects in this pattern, or as some of these logical subjects in this 
pattern. Thus the physical feeling indicates the logical subjects and pro- 
vides them respectively with that individual definition necessary to assign 
the hypothetic status of each in the predicative pattern. The conceptual 
feeling provides the predicative pattern. Thus in a proposition the logical 
subjects are reduced to the status of food for a possibility. Their real role 
in actuality is abstracted from; they are no longer factors in fact, except 
for the purpose of their physical indication. Each logical subject becomes 
a bare 'W among actualities, with its assigned hypothetical relevance to 
the predicate. 2 

It is evident that the datum of the conceptual feeling reappears as the 
predicate in the proposition which is the datum of the integral, preposi- 
tional feeling. In this synthesis the eternal object has suffered the elimina- 
tion of its absolute generality of reference. The datum of the physical 
feeling has also suffered elimination. For the peculiar objectification of 
the actual entities, really effected in the physical feeling, is eliminated, 
except in so far as it is required for the services of the indication. The 
objectification remains only to indicate that definiteness which the logical 
subjects must have in order to be hypothetical food for that predicate. 
This necessary indication of the logical subjects requires the actual world 
as a systematic environment. For there can be no definite position in pure 
abstraction. The proposition is the possibility of that predicate applying 
in that assigned way to those logical subjects. In every proposition, as 
such and without going beyond it, there is complete indeterminateness 
so far as concerns its own realization in a propositional feeling, and as 
regards its own truth. The logical subjects are, nevertheless, in fact actual 
entities which are definite in their realized mutual relatedness. Thus the 
proposition is in fact true, or false. But its own [395] truth, or its own 
falsity, is no business of a proposition. That question concerns only a 
subject entertaining a propositional feeling with that proposition for its 
datum. Such an actual entity is termed a 'prehending subject' of the 
proposition. Even a prehending subject is not necessarily judging the 
proposition. That particular case has been discussed earlier in Chapter 
IX of Part II. In that chapter the term 'judging subject' was used in place 
of the wider term 'prehending subject/ 

To summarize this discussion of the general nature of a proposition: 
A proposition shares with an eternal object the character of indeterminate- 
ness, in that both are definite potentialities for actuality with undeter- 
mined realization in actuality. But they differ in that an eternal object 
refers to actuality with absolute generality, whereas a proposition refers 
to indicated logical subjects. Truth and falsehood always require some 
element of sheer givenness. Eternal objects cannot demonstrate what they 

2 Cf . my Concept of Nature, Ch. I, for another exposition of this train of 

Propositions and Feelings 259 

are except in some given fact. The logical subjects of a proposition supply 
the element of givenness requisite for truth and falsehood. 


A proposition has neither the particularity of a feeling, nor the reality 
of a nexus. It is at datum for feeling, awaiting a subject feeling it. Its 
relevance to the actual world by means of its logical subjects makes it a 
lure for feeling. In fact many subjects may feel it with diverse feelings, 
and with diverse sorts of feelings. The fact that propositions were first 
considered in connection with logic, and the moralistic preference for 
true propositions, have obscured the role of propositions in the actual 
world. Logicians only discuss the judgment of propositions. Indeed some 
philosophers fail to distinguish propositions from judgments; and most 
logicians consider propositions as merely appanages to judgments. The 
result is that false propositions have fared badly, thrown into the dust- 
heap, neglected. But in the real world it is more important [396] that a 
proposition be interesting than that it be true. The importance of truth is, 
that it adds to interest. The doctrine here maintained is that judgment- 
feelings form only one subdivision of propositional feelings: and arise 
from the special sort of integration of propositional feelings with other 
feelings. Propositional feelings are not, in their simplest examples, con- 
scious feelings. Consciousness only arises in some integrations in which 
propositional feelings are among the components integrated. Another point 
to notice is that the physical feeling, which is always one component in 
the history of an integral propositional feeling, has no unique relation to 
the proposition in question, nor has the subject of that feeling, which is 
also a subject prehending the proposition. Any subject with any physical 
feeling which includes in its objective datum the requisite logical subjects! 
can in a supervening phase entertain a propositional feeling with that 
proposition as its datum. It has only to originate a conceptual feeling with 
the requisite predicative pattern as its datum, and then to integrate the 
two feelings into the required propositional feeling. 

Evidently new propositions come into being with the creative advance of 
the world. For every proposition involves its logical subjects; and it cannot 
be the proposition which it is, unless those logical subjects are the actual 
entities which they are. Thus no actual entity can feel a proposition, if its 
actual world does not include the logical subjects of that proposition. The 
proposition 'Caesar crossed the Rubicon' could not be felt by Hannibal 
m any occasion of his existence on earth. Hannibal could feel propositions 
with certain analogies to this proposition, but not this proposition. It is, 
farther, to be noticed that the form of words in which propositions are 
framed also includes an incitement to the origination of an affirmative 
judgment-feeling. In imaginative literature, this incitement is inhibited 
by the general context, and even by the form and make-up of the material 

260 The Theory of Prehensions 

book. Sometimes there is even a form of words designed [397] to inhibit 
the formation of a judgment-feeling, such as 'once upon a time/ The 
verbal statement also includes words and phrases to symbolize the sort of 
physical feelings necessary to indicate the logical subjects of the proposi- 
tion. But language is always elliptical, and depends for its meaning upon 
the circumstances of its publication. For example, the word 'Caesar' may 
mean a puppy dog, or a negro slave, or the first Roman emperor. 

The actual entities whose actual worlds include the logical subjects of 
a proposition will be said to fall within the 'locus' of that proposition. 
The proposition is prehensible by them. Of those actual entities which 
fall within the locus of a proposition, only some will prehend it positively. 
There are two kinds of pure propositional feelings, namely, 'imaginative 
feelings' and 'perceptive feelings/ These kinds are not sharply distin- 
guished, but their extreme instances function very differently. 


A propositional feeling can arise only in a late phase of the process of 
the prehending subject. For it requires, in earlier phases: (a) a physical 
feeling whose objective datum includes the requisite logical subjects; and 
(/?) a physical feeling involving a certain eternal object among the deter- 
minants of the definiteness of its datum; and (y) the conceptual feeling 
of this eternal object, necessarily derivate from the physical feeling under 
heading (/?), according to categoreal condition IV; and perhaps (8), some 
conceptual feeling which is a reversion from the former conceptual feeling, 
according to categoreal condition V, involving another eternal object as 
its datum. 

The physical feeling under the heading (a) will be termed the 'indica- 
tive feeling'; the physical feeling under heading (/?) will be called the 
'physical recognition/ The physical recognition is the physical basis of the 
conceptual feeling which provides the predicative pattern. 

[398] The 'predicative pattern' is either the eternal object which is the 
datum of the conceptual feeling under the heading (y), or it is the eternal 
object which is the datum of the conceptual feeling under the heading (8). 
In the former case, the second conceptual feeling, namely, that under the 
heading (8), is irrelevant to the consideration of the propositional feeling. 
In either case, that conceptual feeling whose datum is the predicative 
pattern is called the 'predicative feeling/ 

In this account of the origin of the predicative feeling, we are in gen- 
eral agreement with Locke and Hume, who hold that every conceptual 
feeling has a physical basis. But Hume lays down the principle that all 
eternal objects are first felt physically, and thus would only allow of the 
origination of the predicative feeling under heading (y). However he 
makes two concessions which ruin his general principle. For he allows the 
independent origination of intermediate 'shades' in a scale of shades, and 

Propositions and Feelings 261 

also of new 'manners' of pattern. Both of these cases are allowed for by 
the principle of 'reversion/ which is appealed to under heading (8). The 
propositional feeling arises in the later phase in which there is integration 
of the 'indicative feeling' with the 'predicative feeling/ In this integra- 
tion the two data are synthesized by a double elimination involving both 
data. The actual entities involved in the datum of the indicative feeling 
are reduced to a bare multiplicity in which each is a bare 'it' with the elimi- 
nation of the eternal object really constituting the definiteness of that 
nexus. But the integration rescues them from this mere multiplicity by 
placing them in the unity of a proposition with the given predicative! 
pattern. Thus the actualities, which were first felt as sheer matter of fact, 
have been transformed into a set of logical subjects with the potentiality 
for realizing an assigned predicative pattern. The predicative pattern has 
also been limited by elimination. For as a datum in the conceptual feeling, 
it held its possibility for realization in respect to absolutely any actual en- 
tities; but in [399] the proposition its possibilities are limited to just 
these logical subjects. 

The subjective form of the propositional feeling will depend on cir- 
cumstances, according to categoreal condition VII. It may, or may not, 
involve consciousness; it may, or may not, involve judgment. It will involve 
aversion, or adversion, that is to say, decision. The subjective form will 
only involve consciousness when the 'affirmation-negation* contrast has 
entered into it. In other words, consciousness enters into the subjective 
forms of feelings, when those feelings are components in an integral feel- 
ing whose datum is the contrast between a nexus which is, and a propo- 
sition which in its own nature negates the decision of its truth or false- 
hood. The logical subjects of the proposition are the actual entities in the 
nexus. Consciousness is the way of feeling that particular real nexus, as in 
contrast with imaginative freedom about it. The consciousness may con- 
fer importance upon what the real thing is, or upon what the imagination 
is, or upon both. 


A proposition, as such, is impartial between its prehending subjects, 
and in its own nature it does not fully determine the subjective forms of 
such prehensions. But the different propositional feelings, with the same 
proposition as datum, in different prehending subjects, are widely different 
according to differences of their histories in these subjects. They can be 
divided into two main types, here termed, respectively, 'perceptive feel- 
ings' and 'imaginative feelings/ This difference is founded on the com- 
parison between the 'indicative feeling' from which the logical subjects 
are derived, and the 'physical recognition' from which the predicative 
pattern is derived. 

[400] t These physical feelings are either identical or different. If they 

262 The Theory of Prehensions 

be one and the same feeling, the derived propositional feeling is here 
called a 'perceptive feeling/ For in this case, as will be seen, the proposi- 
tion predicates of its logical subjects a character derived from the way in 
which they are physically felt by that prehending subject. 

If the physical feelings be different, the derived propositional feeling 
is here called an 'imaginative feeling: For in this case, as will be seen, the 
proposition predicates of its logical subjects a character without any guar- 
antee of close relevance to the logical subjects. Since these physical feel- 
ings are complex, there are degrees of difference between them. Two 
physical feelings may be widely diverse or almost identical. Thus the 
distinction between the two types of propositional feelings is not as sharp- 
cut as it might be. This distinction is still further blurred by noting that 
three distinct cases arise which differentiate perceptive feelings into three 
species, which in their turn shade off into each other. 

Since we are now dealing with perceptive feelings, we have on hand only 
one physical feeling which enjoys the role both of the indicative feeling, 
and of the physical recognition. In the first place, suppose that the predica- 
tive pattern is derived straight from the physical recognition under the 
heading (y), so that there is no reversion and the heading (8) is irrelevant. 
In this case the derived propositional feeling will be termed an 'authen- 
tic perceptive feeling/ Such a feeling, by virtue of its modes of origination, 
has as its datum a proposition whose predicate is in some way realized in 
the real nexus of its [401] logical subjects. Thus the proposition felt pro- 
poses a predicate derived from the real nexus, and not refracted by the 
prehending subject. But nevertheless the proposition need not be true, so 
far as concerns the way in which it implicates the logical subjects with 
the predicate. For the primary physical feeling of that nexus by the pre- 
hending subject may have involved 'transmutation' according to categoreal 
condition VI. In this case, the proposition ascribes to its logical subjects 
the physical enjoyment of a nexus with the definition of its predicate; 
whereas that predicate may have only been enjoyed conceptually by these 
logical subjects. Thus, what the proposition proposes as a physical fact 
in the nexus, was in truth only a mental fact. Unless it is understood for 
what it is, error arises. Such understanding belongs to the subjective form. 

But if the primary physical feeling involves no reversion in any stage, 
then the predicate of the proposition is that eternal object which con- 
stitutes the definiteness of that nexus. In this case, the proposition is, with- 
out qualification, true. The authentic perceptive feeling will then be 
termed 'direct/ Thus there are 'indirect' perceptive feelings (when 're- 
version' is involved), and 'direct' perceptive feelings; and feelings of both 
these species are termed 'authentic/ In the case of these 'authentic' feelings, 
the predicate has realization in the nexus, physically or ideally, apart from 
any reference to the prehending subject. 

+ Thirdly, and lastly, the predicative feeling may have arisen in the pre- 
hending subject by reversion, according to the heading (8) of the previous 

Propositions and Feelings 263 

section. In this case the predicate has in it some elements which really 
contribute to the definiteness of the nexus; but it has also some elements 
which contrast with corresponding elements in the nexus. These latter 
elements have been introduced in the concrescence of the prehending 
subject. The predicate is thus distorted from the truth by the subjectivity 
of the prehending subject. Such a perceptive feeling will be termed 'un- 

Unauthentic feelings are feelings derived from a 'tied' imagination, in 
the sense that there is only one physical basis for the whole origination, 
namely, that physical feeling which is both the 'indicative' feeling! and 
the 'physical recognition/ The imagination is tied to one ultimate fact. 


Imaginative feelings belong to the general case when the indicative 
feeling and the physical recognition differ. [402] But there are degrees 
of difference, which can vary from the case when the two nexus, forming 
the objective data of the two feelings respectively, enjoy the extreme of 
remote disconnection, to the case at the other extreme when the two 
nexus are almost identical. But in so far as there is diversity between the 
feelings, there is some trace of a free imagination. The proposition which 
is the objective datum of an imaginative feeling has a predicate derived, 
with or without reversions, from a nexus which in some respects differs 
from the nexus providing the logical subjects. Thus the proposition is felt 
as an imaginative notion concerning its logical subjects. The proposition 
in its own nature gives no suggestion as to how it should be felt. In one 
prehending subject it may be the datum of a perceptive feeling, and in 
another prehending subject it may be the datum of an imaginative feeling. 
But the subjective forms of the two feelings will differ according to the 
differences in the histories of the origination of those feelings in their 
respective subjects. 

The subjective forms of propositional feelings are dominated by valua- 
tion, rather than by consciousness. In a pure propositional feeling the 
logical subjects have preserved their indicated particularity, but have lost 
their own real modes of objectification. The subjective form lies in the 
twilight zone between pure physical feeling and the clear consciousness 
which apprehends the contrast between physical feeling and imagined 
possibility. A propositional feeling is a lure to creative emergence in the 
transcendent future. When it is functioning as a lure, the propositional 
feeling about the logical subjects of the proposition may in some subse- 
quent phase promote decision involving intensification of some physical 
reeling of those subjects in the nexus. Thus, according to the various 
categoreal conditions, propositions intensify, attenuate, inhibit, or trans- 
mute, without necessarily entering into clear consciousness, or encounter- 
ing judgment. 

264 The Theory of Prehensions 

It follows that in the pursuit of truth even physical [403] feelings must 
be criticized, since their evidence is not final apart from an analysis of 
their origination. This conclusion merely confirms what is a commonplace 
in all scientific investigation, that we can never start from dogmatic cer- 
tainty. Such certainty is always an ideal to which we approximate as the 
result of critical analysis. When we have verified that we depend upon an 
authentic perceptive feeling, whose origination involves no reversions, 
then we know that the proposition which is the datum of that feeling is 
true. Thus there can be no immediate guarantee of the truth of a propo- 
sition, by reason of the mode of origination of the propositional feeling, 
apart from a critical scrutiny of that mode of origination. 

The feeling has to be (i) perceptive, (ii) authentic, and (iii) direct, 
where a definite meaning has, in the preceding section, been assigned to 
each of these conditions. 

t There is, however, always this limitation to the security of direct 
knowledge, based on direct physical feeling, namely, that the creative 
emergence can import into the physical feelings of the actual world 
pseudo-determinants which arise from the concepts entertained in that 
actual world, and not from the physical feelings in that world. 

This possibility of error is peculiarly evident in the case of that special 
class of physical feelings which belong to the mode of 'presentational 

The proposition which is the datum of an imaginative feeling may be 
true. The two questions of the origination of consciousness in the sub- 
jective forms of feelings, and of the intuitive judgment of a proposition, 
apart from the mode of origination of the feeling of it, must now be 


Language, as usual, is always ambiguous as to the exact proposition 
which it indicates. Spoken language is merely a series of squeaks. Its func- 
tion is (a) to arouse in the prehending subject some physical feeling in- 
dicative of the logical subjects of the proposition, (/?) to arouse in the 
prehending subject some physical feeling which plays the part of the 
'physical recognition/ (y) to promote the sublimation of the 'physical 
recognition' into the conceptual 'predicative feeling/ (8) to promote the 
integration of the indicative feeling and the predicative feeling into the 
required propositional feeling. But in this complex function there is always 
a tacit reference to [404] the environment of the occasion of utterance. 
Consider the traditional example, 'Socrates is mortal/ 

This proposition may mean It is mortal/ In this case the word 'Socrates' 
in the circumstances of its utterance merely promotes a physical feeling 
indicating the it which is mortal. 

The proposition may mean 'It is Socratic and mortal'; where 'Socratic 
is an additional element in the predicative pattern. 

Propositions and Feelings 265 

We now turn to the words denoting the predicative pattern, namely, 
either 'mortal,' or 'Socratic and mortal.' The slightest consideration dis- 
closes the fact that it is pure convention to suppose that there is only 
one logical subject to the proposition. The word 'mortal' means a certain 
relationship to the general nexus of actual entities in this world which isf 
possible for any one of the actual entities. 'Mortal' does not mean 'mortal 
in any possible world/ it means 'mortal in this world.' Thus there is a 
general reference to this actual world as exemplifying a scheme of things 
which render 'mortality' realizable in it. 

The word 'Socratic' means 'realizing the Socratic predicate in Athenian 
society.' It does not mean 'Socratic, in any possible world'; nor does it 
mean 'Socratic, anywhere in this world': it means 'Socratic, in Athens.' 
Thus 'Socratic,' as here used, refers to a society of actual entities realizing 
certain general systematic properties such that the Socratic predicate is 
realizable in that environment. Also the 'Athenian society' requires that 
this actual world exemplifies a certain systematic scheme, amid which 
'Athenianism' is realizable. 

Thus in the one meaning of the phrase 'Socrates is mortal,' the logical 
subjects are one singular It (Socrates) and the actual entities of this actual 
world, forming a society amid which mortality is realizable and including 
the former 'IV In the other meaning, there are also included among the 
logical subjects the actual entities forming the Athenian society. These 
actual entities are [405] required for the realization of the predicative 
pattern 'Socratic and mortal' and are the definitely indicated logical sub- 
jects. They also require that the general scheme of this actual world be 
such as to support 'Athenianism' in conjunction with 'mortality .'+ 



[406] 'Comparative feelings' are the result of integrations not yet con- 
sidered: their data are generic contrasts. The infinite variety of the more 
complex feelings come under the heading 'comparative feelings/ 

We have now to examine two simple types of comparative feelings. 
One type arises from the integration of a 'propositional feeling' with the 
'indicative feeling' from which it is partly derived. Feelings of this type 
will be termed 'intellectual feelings/ This type of comparative feelings is 
subdivided into two species: one species consists of 'conscious percep- 
tions'; and the other species consists of 'intuitive judgments/ The sub- 
jective forms of intuitive judgments also involve consciousness. Thus 
'conscious perceptions' and 'intuitive judgments' are alike 'intellectual 
feelings/ Comparative feelings of the other type are termed 'physical pur- 
poses/ Such a feeling arises from the integration of a conceptual feeling 
with the basic physical feeling from which it is derived, either directly 
according to categoreal condition IV (the Category of Conceptual Valua- 
tion), or indirectly according to categoreal condition V (the Category 
of Conceptual Reversion). But this integration is a more primitive type 
of integration than that which produces, from the same basic physical 
feeling, the species of propositional feelings termed 'perceptive/ The 
subjective forms of these physical purposes are either 'adversions' or 
'aversions/ The subjective forms of physical purposes do not involve 
consciousness unless these feelings acquire integration with conscious 
perceptions or intuitive judgments. \407] 


In an intellectual feeling the datum is the generic contrast between a 
nexus of actual entities and a proposition with its logical subjects mem 
bers of the nexus. In every generic contrast its unity arises from the two- 
way functioning of certain entities which are components in each of the 
contrasted factors. This unity expresses the conformation to the second 
categoreal condition (the Category of Objective Identity). The common 
'subject' entertaining the two feelings effects an integration whereby each 
of these actual entities obtains its one role of a two-way functioning in 
the one generic contrast. As an element in the subject no objectified actual 


The Higher Phases of Experience 267 

entity can play two disconnected parts. There can only be one analysable 
part. Thus what in origination is describable as a pair of distinct ways of 
functioning of each actual entity in the two factors of the generic con- 
trast respectivelyt is realized in the subject as one r61e with a two-way 
aspect. This two-way aspect is unified as 'contrast/ This one analysable 
part involves in itself the contrast between the sheer matter of fact, namely, 
what the objectified actual entity in question contributes to the objecti- 
fied nexus in the physical feeling, and the mere potentiality of the same 
actual entity for playing its assigned part in the predicative pattern of the 
proposition, in the eventuality of the proposition's realization. This con- 
trast is what has been termed the 'affirmation-negation contrast/ It is the 
contrast between the affirmation of objectified fact in the physical feeling, 
and the mere potentiality, which is the negation of such affirmation, in 
the propositional feeling. It is the contrast between 'in fact' and 'might be,' 
in respect to particular instances in this actual world. The subjective form 
of the feeling of this contrast is consciousness. Thus in experience, con- 
sciousness arises by reason of intellectual feelings, and in proportion to 
the variety and intensity of such feelings. But, in conformity with the 
seventh [408] categoreal condition (the Category of Subjective Harmony), 
subjective forms, which arise as factors in any feeling, are finally in the 
satisfaction shared in the unity of all feelings;f all feelings acquire their 
quota of irradiation in consciousness. 

This account agrees with the plain facts of our conscious experience. 
Consciousness flickers; and even at its brightest, there is a small focal 
region of clear illumination, and a large penumbral region of experience 
which tells of intense experience in dim apprehension. The simplicity of 
clear consciousness is no measure of the complexity of complete experi- 
ence. Also this character of our experience suggests that consciousness is 
the crown of experience, only occasionally attained, not its necessary 


A feeling is termed a 'belief/ or is said to include an element of 'belief/ 
when its datum is a proposition, and its subjective form includes, as the 
defining element in its emotional pattern, a certain form, or eternal object, 
associated with some gradation of intensity. This eternal object is 'belief- 
character/ When this character enters into the emotional pattern, then, 
according to the intensity involved, the feeling, whatever else it be, is to 
some degree a belief. 

This variation in the intensity of belief-character is insisted on by Locke 
in his Essay. He writes (IV, XV, 3) : 
The entertainment the mind gives this sort of propositions is called 
"belief/' "assent/' or "opinion/' which is the admitting or receiving any 
proposition for true, upon arguments or proofs that are found to per- 
suade us to receive it as true, without certain knowledge that it is so. 

268 The Theory of Prehensions 

And herein lies the difference between probability and certainty, 
faith and knowledge, that in all thef parts of knowledge there is intui- 
tion; each immediate idea, each step has its visible and certain connec- 
tion: in belief not so. 

[409] Locke's distinction between certainty and uncertain belief is ad- 
mirable. But it is not nearly so important as it looks. For it is not the im- 
mediate intuition that we are usually concerned with. We only have its 
recollection recorded in words. Whether the verbal record of a recollec- 
tion recalls to our minds a true proposition must always be a matter of 
great uncertainty. Accordingly our attitude towards an immediate intuition 
must be that of the gladiators, "morituri te salutamus," as we pass into the 
limbo where we rely upon the uncertain record. It must be understood 
that we are not speaking of the objective probability of a proposition, 
expressing its relation to certain other propositions. Comparative firmness 
of belief is a psychological fact which may, or may not, be justified by the 
objective evidence. This belief-character takes various forms from its fusion 
with consciousness derived from the various types of intellectual feelings. 


Conscious perception is the feeling of what is relevant to immediate 
fact in contrast with its potential irrelevance. This general description 
must now be explained in detail. 

"Conscious perceptions' are of such importance that it is worth while 
to rehearse the whole sequence of their origination. It will be seen that 
alternative modes of origination are involved, and that some of these 
modes produce erroneous perceptions. Thus the criticism of conscious per- 
ceptions has the same importance as the criticism of judgments, intuitive 
and inferential. 

In the first place, there is one basic physical feeling, from which the 
whole sequence of feelings originates for the 'subject' in question. From 
this physical feeling, the propositional feeling of the sort termed 'percep- 
tive' arises. The conscious perception is the comparative feeling arising 
from the integration of the perceptive feeling with this original physical 

[410] In the account of the origination of the 'perceptive' feeling (Part 
III, Ch. IV, Sect. IV), the various species of such feelings are analysed 
first into 'authentic' feelings and 'unauthentic' feelings; and secondly, 
'authentic' feelings are analysed into 'direct' feelingsf and 'indirect' feel- 
ings. Without qualification a direct perceptive feeling feels its logical sub- 
jects as potentially invested with a predicate expressing an intrinsic char- 
acter of the nexus which is the initial datum of the physical feeling; with 
qualification this statement is also true of an indirect feeling. The qualifi- 
cation is that the secondary conceptual feelings, entertained in the nexus 

The Higher Phases of Experience 269 

by reason of reversion (cf. categoreal condition V), have been trans- 
muted so as to be felt in the 'subject' (the final subject of the conscious 
perception) as if they had been physical facts in the nexus. Of course 
such transmutation of physical feeling only arises when no incompatibili- 
ties are involved. 

Thus, in general, a transmuted physical feeling only arises as the out- 
come of a complex process of incompatibilities and inhibitions. Apart 
from exceptional circumstances only to be found in few high-grade organ- 
isms, transmutation only accounts for physical feelings of negligible in- 
tensity. It is, however, important to note that even authentic physical 
feelings can distort the character of the nexus felt by transmuting felt 
concept into felt physical fact. In this way authentic perceptive feelings 
can introduce error into thought; and transmuted physical feelings can 
introduce novelty into the physical world. Such novelty may be either for- 
tunate or disastrous. But the point is that novelty in the physical world, 
and error in authentic perceptive feeling, arise by conceptual functioning, 
according to the Category of Reversion. 

Putting aside the case when these transmuted perceptive feelings have 
importance, consider the prehending subject with its direct perceptive 
feeling. The subject has its concrescent phase involving two factors, the 
orig- [411] inal physical feeling, and the derived perceptive feeling. In the 
earlier factor the nexus, physically felt, is objectified through its own proper 
physical bonds. There are no incompatibilities between fact and reverted 
concept to produce attenuation. The objective datum is therefore felt 
with its own proper intensities, transmitted to the subjective form of the 
physical feeling. The other factor in the integration is the 'perceptive' 
feeling. The datum of this feeling is the proposition with the actual en- 
tities of the nexus as its logical subjects, and with its predicate also de- 
rived from the nexus. The whole origination of this perceptive feeling has 
its sole basis in the physical feeling, which plays the part both of 'indicative 
feeling' and of 'physical recognition' (cf. Part III, Ch. IV, Sect. III). 

The integration of the two factors into the conscious perception thus 
confronts the nexus as fact, with the potentiality derived from itself, lim- 
ited to itself, and exemplified in itself. This confrontation is the generic 
contrast which is the objective datum of the integral feeling. The sub- 
jective form thus assumes its vivid immediate consciousness of what the 
nexus really is in the way of potentiality realized. In Hume's phraseology, 
there is an 'impression' of the utmost 'force and vivacity/ 

There are therefore two immediate guarantees of the correctness of a 
conscious perception: one is Hume's test of 'force and vivacity,' and the 
other is the illumination by consciousness of the various feelings involved 
m the process. Thus the fact, that the physical feeling has not transmuted 
concept into physical bond, lies open for inspection. Neither of these 
tests is infallible. There is also the delayed test, that the future conforms 

270 The Theory of Prehensions 

to expectations derived from this assumption. This latter test can be re- 
alized only by future occasions in the life of an enduring object, the en- 
during percipient. 

It is to be observed that what is in doubt is not the immediate percep- 
tion of a nexus which is a fragment of [412] the actual world. The du- 
bitable element is the definition of this nexus by the observed predicate. 

An unauthentic perceptive feeling arises in the subject when its own 
conceptual origination from its own basic physical feeling passed on to 
the secondary stage of producing a reverted conceptual feeling to play the 
part of predicative feeling. The physical feeling may, or may not, have also 
suffered loss of direct relevance by reason of derivation from conceptual 
reversions in the nexus. But anyhow the subject by its own process of 
reversion has produced for the logical subjects a predicate which has no 
immediate relevance to the nexus, either as physical fact or as conceptual 
functioning in the nexus. Thus the comparative feeling which integrates 
the physical feeling with the unauthentic perceptive feeling has for its 
datum the generic contrast of the nexus with a proposition, whose logical 
subjects comprise the actualities in the nexus, and whose predicate partly 
agrees with the complex pattern exemplified in the nexus and partly dis- 
agrees with it This case is really the conscious perception of a proposition 
imaginatively arrived at, which concerns the nexus and disagrees with the 
facts. The case is in fact more analogous to intellectual feelings of the 
second species, namely, to intuitive judgments. But by reason of the use 
of one basic physical feeling, in the double function of indicative feeling 
and of physical recollection, the proposition in the comparative feeling 
will have some of the vivid relevance to the nexus in the same feeling, 
which arises in the case of authentic perceptions. Practically, however, this 
case is an intuitive judgment in which there is consciousness of a proposi- 
tion as erroneous. 


The term 'judgment' refers to three species among the comparative 
feelings with which we are concerned. In each of these feelings the datum 
is the generic contrast between an objectified nexus and a proposition 
whose logical subjects make up the nexus. The three species [413] are com- 
posed of (i) those feelings in the 'yes-form/ (ii) those feelings in the 
'no-form/ and (iii) those feelings in the 'suspense-form.' 

In all three species of felt contrast, the datum obtains its unity by reason 
of the objective identify of the actual entities on both sides of the con- 
trast In the yes-form' there is the further ground of unity by reason of 
the identity of the pattern of the objectified nexus with the predicate. In 
the 'no-form' this latter ground of unity is replaced by a contrast involving 
incompatible diversity. In the 'suspense-form' t the predicate is neither 
identical, nor incompatible, with the pattern. It is diverse from, and com- 

The Higher Phases of Experience 271 

patible with, the pattern in the nexus as objectified: the nexus, in its own 
'formal' existence, may, or may not, in fact exemplify both the pattern 
and the predicate. In this species of comparative feeling there is therefore 
contrast between pattern and predicate, without incompatibility. 

In intuitive judgments, as has been stated, the comparative feeling is 
the integration of the physical feeling of a nexus with a propositional feel- 
ing whose logical subjects are the actual entities in the nexus. So far as 
this general description is concerned intuitive judgments and conscious 
perceptions do not differ, and are therefore classed together as 'intellectual' 
feelings. But in the case of intuitive judgments there is a more complex 
process of origination. There are two distinct physical feelings, the in- 
dicative feeling and the physical recollection (Part III, Ch. IV, Sect. III). 
The predicative feeling originates from the physical recollection, either 
immediately according to categoreal condition IV or mediately according 
to categoreal condition V. The integration of the predicative feeling with 
the indicative feeling produces the 'imaginative feeling' f (cf. Part III, 
Ch. IV, Sect. V). This is a propositional feeling with the logical subjects 
of its datum* derived from the indicative feelingf and with the predica- 
tive pattern derived from the! physical recollection. These two physical 
feelings may be relatively \414) disconnected in their origination. Thus the 
imaginative feeling may have in its subjective form no bias as to belief or 
disbelief; or, if there be such bias, the intensity of the emotion may be 

The intuitive judgment is the comparative feeling with its datum con- 
stituted by the generic contrast between the nexus involved in the indica- 
tive feeling and the proposition involved in the imaginative feeling. In this 
generic contrast each actual entity has its contrast of two-way functioning. 
One way is its functioning in the exemplified pattern of the nexus, and 
the other way is its functioning in the potential pattern of the proposition. 
If in addition to the contrast between exemplification and potentiality, 
there be identity as to pattern and predicate, then by the Category of Ob- 
jective Unity there is also the single complex eternal object in its two- 
way functioning, namely, as exemplified and as potential. In this case, the 
proposition coheres with the nexus and this coherence is its truth. Thus 
'truth' is the absence of incompatibility or of any 'material contrast' in 
the patterns of the nexus and of the proposition in their generic contrast. 
The sole contrast, involving the Category of Objective Diversity, is merely 
that between exemplification and potentiality, and in all other respects 
the coherence is governed by the Category of Objective Identity. 

If a contrast arise in any respect other than that between exemplifica- 
tion and potentiality, then the two patterns are not identical. Then the 
proposition in some sense, important or unimportant, is not felt as true. 

It will be noted that the intuitive judgment in its subjective form con- 
forms to what there is to feel in its datum. Thus error cannot arise from 
the subjective form of the integration constituting the judgment. But it 

272 The Theory of Prehensions 

can arise because the indicative feeling, which is one of the factors in- 
tegrated, may in its origin have involved [415] reversion. Thus error arises 
by reason of operations which lie below consciousness, though they may 
emerge into consciousness and lie open for criticism. 

Finally, what differentiates an intuitive judgment from a conscious 
perception is that a conscious perception is the outcome of an originative 
process which has its closest possible restriction to the fact, thus con- 
sciously perceived. But the distinction between the two species is not 
absolute. Among the conscious perceptions we find transmutations by 
which concepts entertained in the nexus are transmuted into physical 
feelings in the nexus, and also the unauthentic propositional feelings in 
which a proposition with a 'reverted' predicate has arisen. These are cases 
in which conscious perceptions take on the general character of intuitive 
judgments. On the other hand the diversity between the two physical 
feelings— when they are diverse— may be trivial. The nexus which is the 
datum of the one may be practically identical with the nexus which is 
the datum of the other. In such a case an intuitive judgment approximates 
to a conscious perception. 

The condensed analysis of the stages of origination of an intuitive judg- 
ment is (i) the 'physical recollection' and the 'indicative feeling/ (ii) the 
'predicative feeling/ derived from the 'physical recollection/ f (iii) the 
'imaginative feeling/I derived by integration of the 'predicative feeling' 
with the 'indicative feeling/ (iv) the 'intuitive judgment/ f derived by 
integration of the 'imaginative feeling' with the 'indicative feeling.' t 

It is a great mistake to describe the subjective form of an intuitive 
judgment as necessarily including definite belief or disbelief in the propo- 
sition. Three cases arise. The generic contrast which is the datum of the 
intuitive judgment may exhibit the predicate of the proposition as exem- 
plified in the objectified nexus. In this case, the subjective form will in- 
clude definite belief. Secondly, the predicate may be exhibited as incom- 
patible with the [416] eternal objects exemplified in the objectified nexus. 
In this case, the subjective form will include definite disbelief. But there is 
a third case, which is in fact the more usual one: the predicate may be 
exhibited as irrelevant, wholly or partially, to the eternal objects exem- 
plified in the objectified nexus. In this case, the subjective form need ex- 
hibit neither belief nor disbelief. It may include one or the othert of these 
decisions, but it need not do so. This third case will be termed the case 
of 'suspended judgment,' Thus an intuitive judgment may be a belief, or 
a disbelief, or a suspended judgment It is the task of the inferential pro- 
cess sometimes to convert a suspended judgment into a belief, or a dis- 
belief, so far as the final satisfaction is concerned. 

But the main function of intellectual feelings is neither belief, nor dis- 
belief, nor even suspension of judgment. The main function of these 
feelings is to heighten the emotional intensity accompanying the valua- 
tions in the conceptual feelings involved, and in the mere* physical 

The Higher Phases of Experience 273 

purposes which are more primitive than any intellectual feelings. They per- 
form this function by the sharp-cut way in which they limit abstract 
valuation to express possibilities relevant to definite logical subjects. 
In so far as these logical subjects, by reason of other prehensions, are 
topics of interest, the proposition becomes a lure for the conditioning of 
creative action. In other words, its prehension effects a modification of the 
subjective aim. 

Intellectual feelings, in their primary function, are concentration of 
attention involving increase of importance. This concentration of atten- 
tion also introduces the criticism of physical purposes, which is the intel- 
lectual judgment of truth or falsehood. But intellectual feelings are not 
to be understood unless it be remembered that they already find at work 
'physical purposes' more primitive than themselves. Consciousness follows, 
and does not precede, the entry of the conceptual prehensions of the 
relevant universals. [417] 


It is evident that an affirmative intuitive judgment is very analogous to 
a conscious perception. A conscious perception is a very simplified type 
of affirmative intuitive judgment; and a direct affirmative intuitive judg- 
ment is a very sophisticated case of conscious perception. The difference 
between the two has its origin in the fact that one involves a perceptive 
feeling, and the other involves an imaginative feeling. Only one set of 
actual entities is involved in the formation of the perceptive feeling. These 
actual entities are the logical subjects of the proposition which is felt. 
But two sets of actual entities are involved in the formation of an imagi- 
native feeling. Only one of these sets provides the logical subjects of the 
proposition which is felt: the other set is finally eliminated in the process 
of origination. The difference between the two feelings, the perceptive 
feeling and the imaginative feeling, does not therefore lie in the proposi- 
tion which is felt. It lies in the emotional patterns of the two feelings. In 
either case this emotional pattern is derivative from the process of origina- 
tion. In the case of the perceptive feeling, the emotional pattern reflects 
the close connection of the predicate with the logical; subjects, throughout 
the process of origination. In the case of the imaginative feeling, this emo- 
tional pattern reflects the initial disconnection of the predicate from the 
logical subjects. This example illustrates that in the integration of feelings, 
components which are eliminated from the matter of the integral feeling 
may yet leave their mark on its emotional pattern. The triumph of con- 
sciousness comes with the negative intuitive judgment. In this case there 
is a conscious feeling of what might be, and is not. The feeling directly 
concerns the definite negative prehensions enjoyed by its subject. It is the 
feeling of absence, and it feels this absence as produced by the definite 
exclusiveness of what is really present. Thus, the explicitness of negation, 

274 The Theory of Prehensions 

[418] which is the peculiar characteristic of consciousness, is here at its 

The two cases of intuitive judgment, namely, the affirmative intuitive 

judgment and the negative intuitive judgment, are comparatively rare. 

These two cases of intuitive judgment, together with conscious perception, 

correspond to what Locke calls 'knowledge/ Locke's section (IV, XIV, 4)t 

on this subject is short enough to be quoted in full: 
Judgment is the presuming things to be so without perceiving it.— 
Thus the mind has two faculties conversant about truth and false- 

First, Knowledge, whereby it certainly perceives, and is undoubt- 
edly satisfied of the agreement or disagreement of any ideas. 

Secondly, Judgment, which is the putting ideas together, or separat- 
ing them from one another in the mind, when their certain agree- 
ment or disagreement is not perceived, but presumed to be so; which 
is, as the word imports, taken to be so before it certainly appears. 
And if it so unites or separates them as in reality things are, it is right 

What Locke calls 'judgment' is here termed 'inferential judgment/ 
The process of origination of a suspended judgment consists in (i) the 
'physical recollection' and the 'indicative feeling/ (ii) the 'conceptual 
imagination/ derivative from the 'physical recollection/ (iii) the 'preposi- 
tional imagination/ derived by integration of the 'indicative feeling' with 
the 'conceptual imagination/ (iv) the 'suspended judgment,* derived by 
integration of the 'indicative feeling' with the 'propositional imagination/ 
the relation between the objectifying predicate and the imagined predi- 
cate} being such as to preclude either case of direct judgment. 

The suspended judgment thus consists of the integration of the imagi- 
native feeling with the indicative feeling, in the case where the imagined 
predicate fails to find identification with the objectifying predicate, or 
with [419] any part of it; but does find compatible contrast with it. It is 
the feeling of the contrast between what the logical subjects evidently are, 
and what the same subjects in addition may be. This suspended judgment 
is our consciousness of the limitations involved in objectification. If, in the 
comparison of an imaginative feeling with fact, we merely knew what is 
and what is not, then we should have no basis for discovering the work of 
objectification in effecting omissions from the formal constitutions of 
things. It is this additional knowledge of the compatibility of what we 
imagine with what we physically feel, that gives this information. We must 
not oversimplify the formal constitutions of the higher grade of acts of 
concrescence by construing a suspended judgment as though it were a 
negative judgment. Our whole progress in scientific theory, and even in 
subtility of direct observation, depends on the use of suspended judgments. 
It is to be noted that a suspended judgment is not a judgment of proba- 
bility. It is a judgment of compatibility. The judgment tells us what may 
be additional information respecting the formal constitutions of the logical 

The Higher Phases of Experience 275 

subjects, information which is neither included nor excluded by our direct 
perception. This is a judgment of fact concerning ourselves. Suspended 
judgments are weapons essential to scientific progress. But in intuitive 
judgments the emotional pattern may be dominated by indifference to 
truth or falsehood. We have then 'conscious imagination/ We are feeling 
the actual world with the conscious imputation of imagined predicates 
be they true or false. 

When we compare these three cases of intuitive judgment (involving 
attention to truth) with conscious imagination (involving inattention to 
truth), that is to say, with 'imputative feeling/ we note that, except in the 
case of negative judgments, the datum of the conscious imagination is 
identical with the datum of the corresponding judgment. Nevertheless, 
the feelings are very different in their emotional patterns. One emotional 
[420] pattern is dominated by indifference to truth; and the other emo- 
tional pattern by attention to truth. This indifference to truth is other- 
wise to be expressed as readiness to eliminate the true objectifying pat- 
tern exemplified in the objective datum of the physical feeling in question; 
while the attention to truth is merely the refusal to eliminate this pattern. 
But these emotional elements in the subjective forms are not dictated 
by any diversity of data in the two feelings. For except in the case of the 
direct negative judgment, the datum is the same in both types of feeling. 
The emotional form of a feeling cannot be merely deduced from datum 
felt, though it has close relation to it. The emotional pattern in the sub- 
jective form of any one feeling arises from the subjective aim dominating 
the entire concrescent process. The other feelings of the subject may be 
conceived as catalytic agents. They are intellectually separable from the 
feeling in question. But that feeling is in fact the outcome of the subjec- 
tive aim of the subject which is its locus; and the emotional pattern is the 
peculiar way in which the subject asserts itself in its feeling. This explana- 
tion of the status of the emotional pattern is merely an application of the 
doctrine that a feeling appropriates elements of the universe, which in 
themselves are other than the subject; and absorbs these elements into 
the real internal constitution of its subject by synthesizing them in the 
unity of an emotional pattern expressive of its own subjectivity. 

This mutual dependence of the emotional pattern of a feeling on the 
other feelings of the same subjectf may be termed the 'mutual sensitivity' 
of feelings. It is also one aspect of the incurable 'particularity' of a feeling, 
in the sense that no feeling can be abstracted from its subject. 


'Physical purposes' constitute a type of comparative feelings more primi- 
tive than the type of intellectual feel- \421] ings. In general, it seems as 
though intellectual feelings are negligible, so as only to obtain importance 
in exceptional actual entities. We have no means of testing this assump- 

276 The Theory of Prehensions 

tion in any crucial way. It is however the assumption usually made; and 
therefore it may be presumed that there is some evidence which persuades 
people to embrace the doctrine. But in fact no evidence, one way or the 
other, has ever been produced. We know that there are some few entities 
on the surface of this earth with intellectual feelings; and there our knowl- 
edge ends, so far as temporal entities are concerned. 

In the more primitive type of comparative feelings indetermination as 
to its own ingressions— so prominent in intellectual feelings— is the aspect 
of the eternal object which is pushed into the background. In such a type 
of physical purposes the integration of a physical feeling and a conceptual 
feeling does not involve the reduction of the objective datum of the physi- 
cal feeling to a multiplicity of bare logical subjects. The objective datum 
remains the nexus that it is, exemplifying the eternal objects whose in- 
gression constitutes its definiteness. Also the indeterminateness as to its 
own ingressions is eliminated from the eternal object which is the datum 
of the conceptual} feeling. In the integral comparative feeling the datum 
is the contrast of the conceptual datum with the reality of the objectified 
nexus. The physical feeling is feeling a real fact; the conceptual feeling is 
valuing an abstract possibility. The new datum is the compatibility or in- 
compatibility of the fact as felt with the eternal object as a datum in 
feeling. This synthesis of a pure abstraction with a real fact, as in feeling, 
is a generic contrast. In respect to physical purposes, the cosmological 
scheme which is here being developed requires f us to hold that all actual 
entities include physical purposes. The constancy of physical purposes ex- 
plains the persistence of the order of nature, and in particular of 'enduring 

[422] The chain of stages in which a physical purpose originates is sim- 
pler than in the case of intellectual feelings: (i) there is a physical feeling; 
(ii) the primary conceptual correlate of the physical feeling is generated, 
according to categoreal condition IV; (iii) this physical feeling is in- 
tegrated with its conceptual correlate to form the physical purpose. Such 
physical purposes are called physical purposes of the first species. 

In such a physical purpose, the datum is the generic contrast between 
the nexus, felt in the physical feeling, and the eternal object valued in the 
conceptual feeling. This eternal object is also exemplified as the pattern of 
the nexus. Thus the conceptual valuation now closes in upon the feeling 
of the nexus as it stands in the generic contrast, exemplifying the valued 
eternal object. This valuation accorded} to the physical feeling endows 
the transcendent creativity with the character of adversion, or of aversion. 
The character of adversion secures the reproduction of the physical feeling, 
as one element in the objectification of the subject beyond itself. Such re- 
production may be thwarted by incompatible objectification derived from 
other feelings. But a physical feeling, whose valuation produces adversion, 
is thereby an element with some force of persistence into the future be- 
yond its own subject. It is felt and re-enacted down a route of occasions 

The Higher Phases of Experience 277 

forming an enduring object. Finally this chain of transmission meets with 
incompatibilities, and is attenuated, or modified, or eliminated from fur- 
ther endurance. 

When there is aversion, instead of adversion, the transcendent creativity 
assumes the character that it inhibits, or attenuates, the objectification of 
that subject in the guise of that feeling. Thus aversion tends to eliminate 
one possibility by which the subject may itself be objectified in the future. 
Thus adversions promote stability; and aversions promote change without 
any indication of the sort of change. In itself an aversion [423] promotes 
the elimination of content, and the lapse into triviality. 

The bare character of mere responsive re-enaction constituting the origi- 
nal physical feeling in its first phase t is enriched in the second phase by 
the valuation accruing from integration with the conceptual correlate. In 
this way, the dipolar character of concrescent experience provides in the 
physical pole for the objective side of experience, derivative from an ex- 
ternal actual world, and provides in the mental pole for the subjective side 
of experience, derivative from the subjective conceptual valuations cor- 
relate to the physical feelings. The mental operations have a double office. 
They achieve, in the immediate subject, the subjective aim of that subject 
as to the satisfaction to be obtained from its own initial data. In this way 
the decision derived from the actual world, which is the efficient cause, is 
completed by the decision embodied in the subjective aim,f which is the 
final cause. Secondly, the physical purposes of a subject by their valuations 
determine the relative efficiency of the various feelings to enter into the 
objectifications of that subject in the creative advance beyond itself. In 
this function, the mental operations determine their subject in its charac- 
ter of an efficient cause. Thus the mental pole is the link whereby the 
creativity is endowed with the double character of final causation, and 
efficient causation. The mental pole is constituted by the decisions in vir- 
tue of which matters of fact enter into the character of the creativity. It 
has no necessary connection with consciousness; though, where there is 
origination of intellectual feelings, consciousness does in fact enter into 
the subjective forms. 


The second species of physical purposes is due to the origination of 
reversions in the mental pole. It is due to this second species that vibration 
and rhythm have a [424] dominating importance in the physical world. 
Reversions are the conceptions which arise by reason of the lure of con- 
trast, as a condition for intensity of experience. This lure is expressible as 
a categoreal condition. 

Categoreal Condition VIII. The Category of Subjective Intensity. The 
subjective aim, whereby there is origination of conceptual feeling, is at+ 
intensity of feeling (a) in the immediate subject, and (p) in the relevant 

278 The Theory of Prehensions 

We first note (i) that intensity of feeling due to any realized ingression 
of an eternal object is heightened when that eternal object is one element 
in a realized contrast between eternal objects, and (ii) that two or more 
contrasts may be incompatible for joint ingression, or may jointly enter 
into a higher contrast. 

It follows that balanced complexity is the outcome of this* Category of 
Subjective Aim. Here 'complexity' means the realization of contrasts, of 
contrasts of contrasts, and so on; and 'balance' means the absence of at- 
tenuations due to the elimination of contrasts which some elements in the 
pattern would introduce and other elements inhibit. 

Thus there is the urge towards the realization of the maximum number 
of eternal objects subject to the restraint that they must be under condi- 
tions of contrast. But this limitation to 'conditions of contrast' is the de- 
mand for 'balance/ For 'balance' here means that no realized eternal ob- 
ject shall eliminate potential contrasts between other realized eternal ob- 
jects. Such eliminations attenuate the intensities of feeling derivable from 
the ingressions of the various elements of the pattern. Thus so far as the 
immediate present subject is concerned, the origination of conceptual val- 
uation according to Category IV is devoted to such a disposition of em- 
phasis as to maximize the integral intensity derivable from the most fa- 
vourable balance. The subjective aim is the selection of the balance amid 
the given materials. But one element in the immediate feelings of the 
concrescent [425] subject is comprised of the anticipatory feelings of the 
transcendent future in its relation to immediate fact. This is the feeling 
of the objective immortality inherent in the nature of actuality. Such an- 
ticipatory feelings involve realization of the relevance of eternal objects as 
decided in the primordial nature of God. In so far as these feelings in the 
higher organisms rise to important intensities there are effective feelings 
of the more remote alternative possibilities. Such feelings are the con- 
ceptual feelings which arise in accordance with the Category of Reversion 
(Category Vt). 

But there must be 'balance/ and 'balance' is the adjustment of identities 
and diversities for the introduction of contrast with the avoidance of in- 
hibitions by incompatibilities. Thus this secondary phase, involving the 
future, introduces reversion and is subject to Category VIII. t Each re- 
verted conceptual feeling hast its datum largely identical with that of its 
correlate primary feeling of the same pole. In this way, readiness for syn- 
thesis is promoted. But the introduction of contrast is obtained by the 
differences, or reversions, in some elements of the complex data. The 
category expresses the rule that what is identical, and what is reverted, are 
determined by the aim at a favourable balance. The reversion is due to 
the aim at complexity as one condition for intensity. 

When this reverted conceptual feeling acquires a relatively high in- 
tensity of upward valuation in its subjective form, the resulting integra- 
tion of physical feeling, primary conceptual feeling, and secondary con- 

The Higher Phases of Experience 279 

ceptual feeling, produces a more complex physical purpose than in the 
former case when the reverted conceptual feeling was negligible. There is 
now the physical feeling as valued by its integration with the primary 
conceptual feeling, the integration with the contrasted secondary concep- 
tual feeling, the heightening of the scale of subjective intensity by the 
introduction of conceptual contrast, and the concentration of this height- 
ened intensity upon the reverted \426] feeling in virtue of its being the 
novel factor introducing the contrast. The physical purpose thus provides 
the creativity with a complex character, which is governed (i) by the 
Category of Conceptual Reversion, in virtue of which the secondary concep- 
tual feeling arises, (ii) bv the Category of Transmutation, in virtue of which 
conceptual feeling can be transmitted as physical feeling, (iii) by the 
Category of Subjective Harmony, in virtue of which the subjective forms of 
the two conceptual feelings are adjusted to procure the subjective aim, 
and (iv) bv the Category of Subjective Intensity, in virtue of which the 
aim is determined to the attainment of balanced intensity from feelings 
integrated in virtue of near-identity, and contrasted in virtue of reversions. 

Thus in the successive occasions of an enduring object in which the 
inheritance is governed by this complex physical purpose, the reverted 
conceptual feeling is transmitted into the next occasion as physical feeling, 
and the pattern of the original physical feeling now reappears as the datum 
in the reverted conceptual feeling. Thus along the route of the life-history 
there is a chain of contrasts in the physical feelings of the successive occa- 
sions. This chain is inherited as a vivid contrast of physical feelings, and 
in each occasion there is the physical feeling with its primary valuation in 
contrast with the reverted conceptual feeling. 

Thus an enduring object gains the enhanced intensity of feeling arising 
from contrast between inheritance and novel effect, and also gains the en- 
hanced intensity arising from the combined inheritance of its stable 
rhythmic character throughout its life-history. It has the weight of repeti- 
tion, the intensity of contrast, and the balance between the two factors of 
the contrast. In this way the association of endurance with rhythm and 
physical vibration ist to be explained. They arise out of the conditions 
for intensity and stability. The subjective aim is seeking width with its 
contrasts, within the unity of a general design. An intense experience is 
an aesthetic fact, and [427] its categoreal conditions are to be generalized 
from aesthetic laws in particular arts. 

T .ie categoreal conditions, appealed to above, can be summarized thus : 1 

1. The novel consequent must be graded in relevance so as to pre- 
serve some identity of character with the ground. 

2. The novel consequent must be graded in relevance so as to pre- 
serve some contrast with the ground in respect to that same identity 
of character, 

1 My Religion in the Making, Ch. Ill, Sect. VIl.t 

280 The Theory of Prehensions 

These two principles are derived from the doctrine that an actual 
fact is a fact of aesthetic experience. All aesthetic experience is feeling 
arising out of the realization of contrast under identity. 
In the expansion of this account which has been given here, a third 
principle has been added, that new forms enter into positive realizations 
first as conceptual experience, and are then transmuted into physical 
experience. But conceptual experience does not in itself involve con- 
sciousness; its essence is valuation. 

Between physical purposes and the conscious purposes introduced by 
the intellectual feelings there lie the propositional feelings which have 
not acquired consciousness in their subjective forms by association with 
intellectual feelings. Such propositional feelings mark a stage of existence 
intermediate between the purely physical stage and the stage of conscious 
intellectual operations. The propositions are lures for feelings, and give 
to feelings a definiteness of enjoyment and purpose which is absent in 
the blank evaluation of physical feeling into physical purpose. In this 
blank evaluation we have merely the determination of the comparative 
creative efficacies of the component feelings of actual entities. In a proposi- 
tional feeling there is the 'hold up'— or, in its original sense, the epoch— 
of the valuation of the predicative pattern in its relevance to the definite 
logical subjects which are otherwise felt as definite elements in experience. 
\428] There is the arrest of the emotional pattern round this sheer fact 
as a possibility, with the corresponding gain in distinctness of its relevance 
to the future. The particular possibility for the transcendent creativity— 
in the sense of its advance from subject to subject— this particular possi- 
bility has been picked out, held up, and clothed with emotion. The stage 
of existence in which propositional feelings are important apart from in- 
tellectual feelings, may be identified with Bergson's stage of pure and in- 
stinctive intuition. There are thus three stages, the stage of pure physical 
purpose, the stage of pure instinctive intuition, and the stage of intellectual 
feelings. But these stages are not sharply distinguished. There are stages 
in which there are propositional feelings with every degree of importance 
or of unimportance; there are stages in which there are intellectual feelings 
with every degree of importance or of unimportance. Also,f even in a higher 
stage, there are whole recesses of feeling which in the final satisfaction 
acquire merely the characteristics of their own proper stage, physical or 




[433] There are two distinct ways of 'dividing' the satisfaction of an 
actual entity into component feelings, genetically and coordinately. Genetic 
division is division of the concrescence; coordinate division is division of 
the concrete. In the 'genetic' mode, the prehensions are exhibited in their 
genetic relationship to each other. The actual entity is seen as a process; 
there is a growth from phase to phase; there are processes of integration 
and of [434] reintegration. At length a complex unity of objective datum 
is obtained, in the guise of a contrast of actual entities, eternal objects, 
and propositions, felt with corresponding complex unity of subjective form. 
This genetic passage from phase to phase is not in physical time: the 
exactly converse point of view expresses the relationship of concrescence 
to physical time. It can be put shortly by saying, that physical time ex- 
presses some features of the growth, but not the growth of the features. 
The final complete feeling is the "'satisfaction.' 

Physical time makes its appearance in the 'coordinate' analysis of the 
'satisfaction/ The actual entity is the enjoyment of a certain quantum of 
physical time. But the genetic process is not the temporal succession: 
such a view is exactly what is denied by the epochal theory of time. Each 
phase in the genetic process presupposes the entire quantum, and so does 
each feeling in each phase. The subjective unity dominating the process 
forbids the division of that extensive quantum which originates with the 
primary phase of the subjective aim. The problem dominating the con- 
crescence is the actualization of the quantum in solidoA The quantum is 
that standpoint in the extensive continuum which is consonant with the 
subjective aim in its original derivation from God. Here 'God' is that 
actuality in the world, in virtue of which there is physical law/ 

There is a spatial element in the quantum as well as a temporal ele- 
ment. Thus the quantum is an extensive region. This region is the deter- 
minate basis which the concrescence presupposes. This basis governs the 
objectifications of the actual world which are possible for the novel con- 
crescence. The coordinate divisibility of the satisfaction is the 'satisfaction' 
considered in its relationship to the divisibility of this region. 

The concrescence presupposes its basic region, and not the region its 
concrescence. Thus the subjective unity of the concrescence is irrelevant 


284 The Theory of Extension 

to the divisibility of the [435] region. In dividing the region we are ignoring 
the subjective unity which is inconsistent with such division. But the re- 
gion is, after all, divisible, although in the genetic growth it is undivided. 

So this divisible character of the undivided region is reflected into the 
character of the satisfaction. When we divide the satisfaction coordinately, 
we do not find feelings which are separate, but feelings which might be 
separate. In the same way, the divisions of the region are not divisions 
which are; they are divisions which might be. Each such mode of division 
of the extensive region yields 'extensive quanta': also an 'extensive quan- 
tum' has been termed a 'standpoint/ This notion of a 'standpoint' must 
now be briefly explained. 

The notion has reference to three allied doctrines. First, there is the 
doctrine of 'the actual world' as receiving its definition from the immediate 
concrescent actuality in question. Each actual entity arises out of its own 
peculiar actual world. Secondly, there is the doctrine of each actual world 
as a 'medium/ According to this doctrine, if S be the concrescent subject 
in question, and A and B be two actual entities in its actual world, then 
either A is in the actual world of B, or B is in the actual world of A, or A 
and B are contemporaries. If, for example, A be in the actual world of B, 
then for the immediate subject S there are (1) the direct objectification 
of A in S, and (2) the indirect objectification by reason of the chain of 
objectification, A in B and B in S. Such chains can be extended to any 
length by the inclusion of many intermediate actualities between A 
and S. 

Thirdly, it is to be noticed that 'decided' conditions are never such as 
to banish freedom. They only qualify it. There is always a contingency 
left open for immediate decision. This consideration is exemplified by an 
indetermination respecting 'the actual world' which is to decide the con- 
ditions for an immediately novel concrescence. There are alternatives as to 
its determination, which are left over for immediate decision. Some actual 
[436] entities may be either in the settled past, or in the contemporary 
nexus, or even left to the undecided future, according to immediate de- 
cision. Also the indirect chains of successive objectifications will be modi- 
fied according to such choice. These alternatives are represented by the 
indecision as to the particular quantum of extension to be chosen for the 
basis of the novel concrescence. 


The sense in which the coordinate divisions of the satisfaction are 
'feelings which might be separated has now to be discussed. 

Each such coordinate division corresponds to a definite sub-region of 
the basic region. It expresses that component of the satisfaction which 
has the character of a unified feeling of the actual world from the stand- 
point of that sub-region. In so far as the objectification of the actual world 

Coordinate Division 285 

from this restricted standpoint is concerned, there is nothing to distinguish 
this coordinate division from an actual entity. But it is only the physical 
pole of the actual entity which is thus divisible. The mental pole is in- 
curably one. Thus the subjective form of this coordinate division is de- 
rived from the origination of conceptual feelings which have regard to 
the complete region, and are not restricted to the sub-region in question. 
In other words, the conceptual feelings have regard to the complete actual 
entity, and not to the coordinate division in question. Thus the whole 
course of the genetic derivation of the coordinate division is not explicable 
by reference to the categoreal conditions governing the concrescence of 
feeling arising from the mere physical feeling of the restricted objective 
datum. The originative energy of the mental pole constitutes the urge 
whereby its conceptual prehensions adjust and readjust subjective forms 
and thereby determine the specific modes of integration terminating in 
the 'satisfaction/ 

It is obvious that in so far as the mental pole is trivial [437] as to orig- 
inality, what is inexplicable in the coordinate division (taken as actually 
separate) becomes thereby trivial. Thus for many abstractions concerning 
low-grade actual entities, the coordinate divisions approach the character 
of being actual entities on the same level as the actual entity from which 
they are derived. 

It is thus an empirical question to decide in relation to special topics, 
whether the distinction between a coordinate division and a true actual 
entity is, or is not, relevant. In so far as it is not relevant we are dealing 
with an indefinitely subdivisible extensive universe. 

A coordinate division is thus to be classed as a generic contrast. The two 
components of the contrast are, (i) the parent actual entity, and (ii) the 
proposition which is the potentiality of that superject having arisen from 
the physical standpoint of the restricted sub-region. The proposition is 
thus the potentiality of eliminating from the physical pole of the parent 
entity all the objectified actual world, except those elements derivable from 
that standpoint; and yet retaining the relevant elements of the subjective 

The unqualified proposition is false, because the mental pole, which 
is in fact operative, would not be the mental pole under the hypothesis 
of the proposition. But, for many purposes, the falsity of the proposition 
is irrelevant. The proposition is very complex; and with the relevant quali- 
fications depending on the topic in question, it expresses the truth. In 
other words, the unqualified false proposition is a matrix from which an 
indefinite number of true qualified propositions can be derived. The req- 
uisite qualification depends on the special topic in question, and ex- 
presses the limits of the application of the unqualified proposition rele- 
vantly to that topic. 

The unqualified proposition expresses the indefinite divisibility of the 
actual world; the qualifications express the features of the world which 

286 The Theory of Extension 

are lost sight of by the [438] unguarded use of this principle. The actual 
world is atomic: but in some senses it is indefinitely divisible. 


The atomic actual entities individually express the genetic unity of the 
universe. The world expands through recurrent unifications of itself, each, 
by the addition of itself, automatically recreating the multiplicity anew. 

The other type of indefinite multiplicity, introduced by the indefinite 
coordinate divisibility of each atomic actuality, seems to show that, at 
least for certain purposes, the actual world is to be conceived as a mere 
indefinite multiplicity. 

But this conclusion is to be limited by the principle of 'extensive order' 
which steps in. The atomic unity of the world, expressed by a multiplicity 
of atoms, is now replaced by the solidarity of the extensive continuum. 
This solidarity embraces not only the coordinate divisions within each 
atomic actuality, but also exhibits the coordinate divisions of all atomic 
actualities from each other in one scheme of relationship. 

In an earlier chapter (Part II, Ch. IV, Sects. IV to IXt) the sense in 
which the world can be conceived as a medium for the transmission of in- 
fluences! has been discussed. This orderly arrangement of a variety of 
routes of transmission, by which alternative objectifications of an ante- 
cedent actuality A can be indirectly received into the constitution of a sub- 
sequent actuality B, is the foundation of the extensive relationship among 
diverse actual entities. But this scheme of external extensive relationships 
links itself with the schemes of internal division which are internal to the 
several actual entities. There is, in this way, one basic scheme of extensive 
connection which expresses on one uniform plant (i) the general condi- 
tions to which the bonds, uniting the atomic actualities into a nexus, con- 
form, and (ii) the general conditions to which the bonds, uniting the 
infinite num- [439] ber of coordinate subdivisions of the satisfaction of any 
actual entity, conform. 

As an example of (ii), suppose that P is a coordinate division of an 
actual occasion A. Then P can be conceived as an actual occasion with its 
own actual world forming its initial datum in its first phase of genetic 
origination. In fact, P is the hypothetical satisfaction of a hypothetical 
process of concrescence with this standpoint. The other coordinate divi- 
sions of A are either in the 'actual world' for P, or are contemporary with 
P, or are coordinate divisions of P, or have a complex relation to P ex- 
pressed by the property that each one of them is coordinately divisible 
into prehensions Q^ Q 2 . . ., such that each of them has one or othert 
of the three above-mentioned relations to P. 

Further, in addition to the merely potential subdivisions of a satisfaction 
into coordinate feelings, there is the merely potential aggregation of actual 
entities into a super-actuality in respect to which the true actualities play 

Coordinate Division 287 

the part of coordinate subdivisions. In other words, just as,f for some pur- 
poses, one atomic actuality can be treated as though it were many co- 
ordinate actualities, in the same way, for other purposes, t a nexus of many 
actualities can be treated as though it were one actuality. This is what we 
habitually do in the case of the span of life of a molecule, or of a piece of 
rock, or of a human body. 

This extensiveness is the pervading generic form to which the morpho- 
logical structures t of the organisms of the world conform. These organisms 
are of two types: one type consists of the individual actual entities; the 
other type consists of nexus of actual entities. Both types are correlated 
by their common extensiveness. If we confine our attention to the sub- 
division of an actual entity into coordinate parts, we shall conceive of 
extensiveness as purely derived from the notion of 'whole and part/ that 
is to say, 'extensive whole and extensive part/ This was the view taken 
by me in myt two earlier investigations of the [440] subject. 1 This defect 
of starting-point revenged itself in the fact that the 'method of extensive 
abstraction' developed in those works was unable to define a 'point't with- 
out the intervention of the theory of 'duration/ Thus what should have 
been a property of 'durations' became the definition of a point. By this 
mode of approach the extensive relations of actual entities mutually ex- 
ternal to each other were pushed into the background; though they are 
equally fundamental. 

Since that date Professor T. de Laguna 2 has shown that the somewhat 
more general notion of 'extensive connection' can be adopted as the start- 
ing-point for the investigation of extension; and that the more limited 
notion of 'whole and part 7 can be defined in terms of it. In this way, as 
Professor de Laguna has shown, my difficulty in the definition of a point, 
without recourse to other considerations, can be overcome. 

This whole question is investigated in the succeeding chapters of this 
Part.t Also I there give a definition of a straight line, and of 'flat' loci gen- 
erally, in terms of purely extensive principles without reference to measure- 
ment or to durations. 


An actual entity, in its character of being a physical occasion, is an act 
of blind perceptivity of the other physical occasions of the actual world. 
When we consider such an occasion morphologically, as a given entity, 
its perceptive bonds are divisible by reason of the extensive divisibility of 
its own standpoints, and by reason of the extensive divisibility of the other 
actual occasions. Thus we reach perceptive bonds involving one sub-region 
of the basic region of the perceiver, and one subdivision of the basic region 

1 Cf. The Principles of Natural Knowledge, 1919, and The Concept of Nature, 
1920, Cambridge University Press, England. 

2 Cf. Professor de Laguna'sf three articles in the Journal of Philosophy, Psy- 
chology, and Scientific Method, Vol. XIX, 1922, especially the third article. 

288 The Theory of Extension 

of the perceived. The relationship between these sub-regions involves the 
status of inter- [441] mediate regions functioning as agents in the process 
of transmission. In other words, the perspective of one sub-region from 
the other is dependent on the fact that the extensive relations express 
the conditions laid on the actual world in its function of a medium. 

These extensive relations do not make determinate what is transmitted; 
but they do determine conditions to which all transmission must conform. 
They represent the systematic scheme which is involved in the real poten- 
tiality from which every actual occasion arises. This scheme is also involved 
in the attained fact which every actual occasion is. The 'extensive' scheme 
is nothing else than the generic morphology of the internal relations which 
bind the actual occasions into a nexus, and which bind the prehensions of 
any one actual occasion into a unity, coordinately divisible. 

For Descartes the primary attribute of physical bodies is extension; for 
the philosophy of organism the primary relationship of physical occasions 
is extensive connection. This ultimate relationship is sui generis 7 and can- 
not be defined or explained. But its formal properties can be stated. Also,t 
in view of these formal properties, there are definable derivative notions 
which are of importance in expressing the morphological structure. Some 
general character of coordinate divisibility is probably an ultimate meta- 
physical character, persistent in every cosmic epoch of physical occasions. 
Thus some of the simpler characteristics of extensive connection, as here 
stated, are probably such ultimate metaphysical necessities. 

But when we examine the characteristics considered in the next chapter, 
it is difficult to draw the line distinguishing characteristics so general that 
we cannot conceive any alternatives, from characteristics so special that we 
imagine them to belong merely to our cosmic epoch. Such an epoch may 
be, relatively to our powers, of immeasurable extent, temporally and spa- 
tially. But in reference to the ultimate nature of things, it is a limited 
nexus. Beyond that nexus, entities with new relationships, unrealized in 
our experiences and unforeseen by our imagi- [442} nations, will make their 
appearance, introducing into the universe new types of order. 

But, for our epoch, extensive connection with its various characteristics 
is the fundamental organic relationship whereby the physical world is 
properly described as a community. There are no important physical rela- 
tionships outside the extensive scheme. To be an actual occasion in the 
physical world means that the entity in question is a relatum in this 
scheme of extensive connection. In this epoch, the scheme defines what 
is physically actual. 

The more ultimate side of this scheme, perhaps that side which is meta- 
physically necessary, is at once evident by the consideration of the mutual 
implication of extensive whole and extensive part. If you abolish the 
whole, you abolish its parts; and if you abolish any part, then that whole 
is abolished. 

In this general description of the states of extension, nothing has been 

Coordinate Division 289 

said about physical time or physical space, or of the more general notion 
of creative advance. These are notions which presuppose the more gen- 
eral relationship of extension. They express additional facts about the 
actual occasions. The extensiveness of space is really the spatialization of 
extension; and the extensiveness of time is really the temporalization of 
extension. Physical time expresses the reflection of genetic divisibility into 
coordinate divisibility. 

So far as mere extensiveness is concerned, space might as well have 
three hundred and thirty-three dimensions, instead of the modest three 
dimensions of our present epoch. The three dimensions of space form 
an additional fact about the physical occasions. Indeed the sheer dimen- 
sionality of space, apart from the precise number of dimensions, is such 
an additional fact, not involved in the mere notion of extension. Also the 
seriality of time, unique or multiple, cannot be derived from the sole no- 
tion of extension. 

[443] The notion of nature as an organic extensive community omits 
the equally essential point of view that nature is never complete. It is 
always passing beyond itself. This is the creative advance of nature. Here 
we come to the problem of time. The immediately relevant point to notice 
is that time and space are characteristics of nature which presuppose the 
scheme of extension. But extension does not in itself determine the special 
facts which are true respecting physical time and physical space. 


The consideration of coordination and genesis raises a question wider 
than any yet discussed in this chapter. 

The theory of 'prehensions' embodies a protest against the 'bifurcation' 
of nature. It embodies even more than that: its protest is against the 
bifurcation of actualities. In the analysis of actuality the antithesis be- 
tween publicity and privacy obtrudes itself at every stage. There are ele- 
ments only to be understood by reference to what is beyond the fact in 
question; and there are elements expressive of the immediate, private, per- 
sonal, individuality of the fact in question. The former elements express 
the publicity of the world; the latter elements express the privacy of the 

An actual entity considered in reference to the publicity of things is a 
superjecf ; namely, it arises from the publicity which it finds, and it adds 
itself to the publicity which it transmits. It is a moment of passage from 
decided public facts to a novel public fact. Public facts are, in their nature, 

An actual entity considered in reference to the privacy of things is a 
'subject'; namely, it is a moment of the genesis of self-enjoyment. It con- 
sists of a purposed self-creation out of materials which are at hand in vir- 
tue of their publicity. 

290 The Theory of Extension 

Eternal objects have the same dual reference. An eternal object con- 
sidered in reference to the publicity [444] of things is at 'universal'; 
namely, in its own nature it refers to the general public facts of the world 
without any disclosure of the empirical details of its own implication in 
them. Its own nature as an entity requires ingression— positive or negative 
—in every detailed actuality; but its nature does not disclose the private 
details of any actuality. 

An eternal object considered in reference to the privacy of things is a 
'quality' or 'characteristic'; namely, in its own nature, as exemplified in any 
actuality, it constitutes an element in the private definiteness of that ac- 
tuality. It refers itself publicly; but it is enjoyed privately. 

The theory of prehensions is founded upon the doctrine that there are 
no concrete facts which are merely public, or merely private. The dis- 
tinction between publicity and privacy is a distinction of reason, and is 
not a distinction between mutually exclusive concrete facts. The sole 
concrete facts, in terms of which actualities can be analysed, are prehen- 
sions; and every prehension has its public side and its private side. Its 
public side is constituted by the complex datum prehended; and its private 
side is constituted by the subjective form through which a private quality 
is imposed on the public datum. The separations of perceptual fact from 
emotional fact; and of causal fact from emotional fact, and from per- 
ceptual fact;t and of perceptual fact, emotional fact, and causal fact, from 
purposive fact; have constituted a complex of bifurcations, fatal to a satis- 
factory cosmology. The facts of nature are the actualities; and the facts 
into which the actualities are divisible are their prehensions, with their 
public origins, their private forms, and their private aims. But the actuali- 
ties are moments of passage into a novel stage of publicity; and the co- 
ordination of prehensions expresses the publicity of the world, so far as 
it can be considered in abstraction